QC 1295 by Hurley

Another skeletal blog from me this week I am afraid. Too much going on in real life for me to spend much time on it. Gradually managing to clear my backlog of 15x15s I am glad to say as I thought I was losing my appetite for them (down to about 10 now from 20).

This was a medium difficulty puzzle with straightforward cluing, no question marks and all pretty much according to Hoyle. Thank you to Hurley for a good ten-minute work out with the morning lifesaver.

FOI was 1A, LOI was 12D I think (so obvious that I couldn’t see it at first) and COD goes to 5A as being the most succinct and economical clue on offer IMHO.

No readings on the NATRAF (Nina And Theme Radar And Filter).

Definitions are underlined, and everything else is explained just as I see it in the simplest language I can manage.

1 Acts badly after work at keyboard getting the same parts? (8)
TYPECAST – anagram of ACTS (‘badly’) = CAST, put after TYPE (work at keyboard).
5 Produced money, we hear (4)
BRED – homophone for BREAD (slang for money, as in “Hey, don’t be such a real heavy breadhead, Man!”)
9 Custom from American era (5)
USAGE – US (American) + AGE (era).
10 Personal target leading to footballer’s error (3,4)
OWN GOAL – almost a double definition, a personal target possibly being one’s ‘OWN GOAL’.
11 Coming in holding that isn’t regularly amusing (12)
ENTERTAINING – ENTERING (coming in) ‘holding’ TAIN (ThAt IsN’t ‘regularly’).
13 TV feature perhaps recalled in tuneful air, eastern (6)
AERIAL – reversed (‘recalled’) hidden word: tunefuL AIR EAstern.
15 Warn about edges of route in overcrowded area (6)
WARREN – WARN ‘about’ RE (edges of RoutE).
17 Unexpectedly gave a car next, spending too much (12)
EXTRAVAGANCE – straight anagram (‘unexpectedly’) of GAVE A CAR NEXT = EXTRAVAGANCE.
20 Advance payment showing sincerity (7)
EARNEST – &lit. + double definition. The first definition of EARNEST in this context is ‘advance payment’, which incidentally implies an intention to pay the remainder (thus ‘sincerity’). So EARNEST means a type of ‘ADVANCE PAYMENT’, and also ‘SHOWING SINCERITY’ but also means ‘ADVANCE PAYMENT SHOWING SINCERITY’.
21 Introduction of secure, healthy, source of gas (5)
SHALE – I think this is what all the fracking controversy is about isn’t it? Getting gas from shale? Anyway, cryptically it is S (introduction of Secure) plus HALE (healthy, as in ‘hale and hearty’).
22 Guy from Egypt he obliges (4)
THEO – hidden word: EgypT HE Obliges.
23 Find beer possibly as favour (8)
BEFRIEND – straight anagram (‘possibly’) of FIND BEER = BEFRIEND.
1 He could be tough, lacking love? (4)
THUG – anagramatic &lit. Anagram of TUGH (TOUGH ‘lacking’ O (love)) = THUG, and then the whole is a possible definition of a THUG.
2 Shellfish that’s uncooked put into empty pan (5)
PRAWN – RAW (uncooked) in an ’empty’ PaN’.
3 Sweet having me in calmer race, somehow (5,7)
CREME CARAMEL – straight anagram of CALMER RACE (‘somehow’) with ME inside.
4 Unruffled sound from cow in south (6)
SMOOTH – MOO (sound from cow) in STH (south).
6 Having climbed moor? That is right, it’s more spacious (7)
ROOMIER – ROOM = MOOR (‘climbed’ in this down clue) + IE (id est, that is) + R (right)
7 Tipping hat, one overseeing man, hard-working (8)
DILIGENT – DIL = LID (hat) ‘tipping’ + I (one) + GENT (man).
8 Nasty stain mars a chair arm initially — protective cloth found (12)
ANTIMACASSAR – anagram (‘nasty’) of STAIN MARS A + C + A (Chair Arm ‘initially’).
12 MP should get back in here (4,4)
SAFE SEAT – cryptic definition. An MP should manage to get back into a SAFE SEAT at an election.
14 One working no longer referring to Scottish island (7)
RETIREE – RE (referring to) + TIREE (Scottish island). I have a personal gripe with words like RETIREE and ATTENDEE. I know these words are in general usage but they annoy me because to me ‘ER’ (or ‘OR’) has always been a nominative suffix and ‘EE’ an accusative or dative suffix. Thus a mortgagor mortgages property to a mortgagee. An employer employs an employee. A payer pays money to a payee and so on. The result is that I religiously refer to people going to conferences as attenders and people who are retiring as retirers (unless, I suppose, they are being forced to retire against their will) and get funny looks from everybody.
16 Disconcert painter, non-drinker, extremely likable (6)
RATTLE – RA (painter, member of the Royal Academy of Arts) + TT (teetotaller) + LE (‘extremely’ LikeablE).
18 Pursue ornament with engraving (5)
CHASE – double definition.
19 Care for those experiencing niggling delays at first (4)
TEND – Those Experiencing Niggling Days ‘at first’ (i.e. initial letters).

29 comments on “QC 1295 by Hurley”

  1. 11 minutes with ANTIMACASSAR holding out right to the end. I needed all its checkers in place and an extra run through the anagrist to ensure there was no E or O to go in the last unchecked square.
  2. I went quite quickly through this, but entered EARNEST tentatively and unparsed as I had never seen or heard of the advance payment meaning before. ANTIMACASSAR on the other hand proved easily solved, after commenting to Mrs Rotter on some examples of them that we saw in a local antique shop window only a few days ago. I briefly wondered about an Oscars theme after getting TYPECAST, ENTERTAINING and EXTRAVAGANCE in quick succession, but there was no further evidence of such.
  3. Dnk Antimacassar so annoying it was clued by an anagram. I guessed anticamassar.

    Also didn’t get earnest.
    Favour for befriend seems a stretch.

    Not the most enjoyable.
    Try the 15×15 today, there’s not much difference.

  4. Fast except for the last two, SAFE SEAT (I was over-complicating it and trying all sorts of break downs; real forehead slap when I saw how simple it was!) and LOI EARNEST. Am I alone in thinking EARNEST is a weak clue? It only means “advance payment” at all because it connotes sincerity, so despite Don’s valiant efforts I can’t see how it works as a double definition. It reads as a simple non-cryptic single definition to me.

    I completely share your views on “attendee” and “retiree”, Don, and went through the same thought process as I wrote that one in! Thanks for the blog, and thanks to Hurley for the puzzle.


    1. I’m no expert in interpreting etymology as presented in dictionaries, but if I’m understanding the entries for ‘earnest’ correctly, the two meanings have different origins. ‘Earnest’ meaning ‘serious’ is from Anglo-Saxon and ‘earnest’ meaning ‘a pledge’ is from Old French, and possibly from Latin before that.
  5. 12.48. At school, our teacher, Cheesy Chawnor, used to set us a general knowledge quiz each weekend. Many nuggets have stuck, including what an ANTIMACASSAR is. Ditto those above re ease/inability to see SAFE SEAT. I was looking at something LEFT. Credit to Mrs soj for EARNEST.
  6. Just over 15 mins, held up by my LOI – SAFE SEAT – amongst others including EARNEST. RETIREE gave me pause for thought, too. I agree totally with Don about the common misuse of EE instead of ER in words like attender. I insisted on a re-write of a draft Conference blurb not too long ago when the participants were referred to as attendees. Ah well, the tide of popular usage will engulf us in time, no doubt. Many thanks to Hurley and Don. John M. (I’m off to have a go at the 15×15 after the comments above.)

    Edited at 2019-02-25 09:46 am (UTC)

  7. 13 minutes here with a major struggle in the SW. Quite why ‘serial’ went in at 13ac, I’m not sure, but it took a while to unpick. Added to that was my total ignorance of this meaning of earnest. Having to use the brain and learning things – exactly why we do cryptic crosswords. Thanks for the explanations.
  8. 20 minutes which is bang on average for me. The last 5 were spent on the last 2 clues. One of which was antimacassar, which is a word I have only heard once and that was nearly 30 years ago at a now long-deceased elderly relative’s house (who had them – not seen one since), the other was warren – which I really should’ve got sooner but was looking for something more complex.

    Enjoyed the puzzle.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle but DNF due to one DNK ( Ithink I’m getting the hang of these TLA’s.). Just over 13 mins to get all but antimacassar, which I had to cheat on. That, and earnest for advance payment, I’ve never come across before so two new bits of knowledge.
    Thanks Hurley and astartedon.
  10. ….OWN GOAL, and a delay trying to justify “sent” before the checkers were in for BRED, I eventually got home inside my target time.

    LOI AERIAL – I’d entered “serial” but the error was corrected once I spotted….
    TIME 4:05

  11. ANTIMACASSARs sit alongside aspidistras and doilies if the house of my two long-gone maiden aunts. Wonderful old ladies who ran away from home together in 1914 to serve as nurses on the western front.

    Back to the crossword – I had no problems at all today, a near top to bottom write in, so close to PB at 3’50”.

  12. A nice puzzle to start the week, which I completed in 8:37. Needed the blog to explain 20ac, but it couldn’t be anything else. 15ac is a weak clue for me. Thanks to Hurley and Don.


  13. This all went in without too much trouble right up to my loi – Earnest. I have never come across the advance payment meaning (what’s wrong with deposit?), so I was completely stumped. 25mins up until that point, with 7d my favourite, even though I was a bit disappointed it didn’t include tile for hat. Invariant
  14. Back to solving on paper after the dog walk today.
    FOI was USAGE and LOI SAFE SEAT (very tricky I thought given the available letters and COD for me).
    I almost had an own goal with OFF SIDE. DNK this meaning of Earnest but did know Antimacassar which I think I have seen in a crossword before,but also remember my grandparents had them.
    About 20 minutes today whilst drinking tea. David
  15. Only just managed to complete this inside my target time at 9:47. I was bamboozled by EARNEST, never having come across that meaning, but eventually shrugged and submitted. Knew about ANTIMACASSARs from previous puzzles, having met them in relatives homes without knowing what they were called. Thanks Hurley and Don.
  16. Another nice puzzle from Hurley which took me 28 minutes, 8 over target. I was held up by not seeing CARAMEL for ages, which robbrd me of three important checkers. Strange – ANTIMACASSER jumped out at me first time through but I thought it was some sort of antique footstool so I didn’t put it in – it would have saved me a lot of time if I had!


    Edited at 2019-02-25 11:48 am (UTC)

  17. Slow going for me today, completing in 18.28, a lot of which was due to not being able to fully parse EARNEST and having to guess the order of a few of the unchecked letters in the unknown 8d – which always annoys me.
    Thanks for the blog
  18. Scored a massive own goal by jumping to caramel cream (not the letter selection I know ) but recognising it had to be extravagance told me something was wrong. You have to have bad days so that you can appreciate good days 🙂
  19. I required 20 minutes to complete this Hurley QC but the delay was entirely of my own making. I quickly bunged in sERIAL for 13a having incorrectly identified the reverse. I then entered an un-parsed feRvEnT for 20a just because it contained the letters from ‘rent’. So with not one but two erroneous checkers at 12d I could not solve SAFE SEAT. After a further 10 minutes I backtracked and saw AERIAL, SAFE SEAT and then guessed at EARNEST. Room for improvement over the coming week.
  20. Plodded through this steadily, taking a little over our target. Knew earnest and antimacassar which probably shows our advancing age group, has its advantages sometimes. Thanks to Hurley and the blog.
  21. I whizzed through this, pausing only to get the vowels right in ANTIMACASSAR. I was slightly surprised by STH for South, but I see it’s pukka. All very 3D and 11A. COD to THUG. 4:06
  22. Would have finished just within my 20 minute target but for 12d which took me another 4 minutes before the penny drop moment came.
    WOD and also COD 8d. It never ceases to amaze me that setters manage to find a readable sentence that clues such a long and unusual word.So thank you, Hurley. (At one time we had a “word of the week” at work and this was one that I suggested….. remembering antimacassars from my childhood. From what I have read on this blog today, about maiden aunts and the like, that seems to make me VERY old.)
    Thank you Astartedon for taking the time, when you are so busy, to do the blog. It really is appreciated. After all I put in EARNEST from the second part of the clue. I needed you to explain it to me! MM
    1. Unspammed.

      MM, if you’re wondering why your posting was treated as suspicious it was ‘unusual word.So thank you’ that did it.

      If you post a link to another site or, as in this case, follow a full stop without a space before the next word, Live Journal will exclude it until one of the TftT bloggers ‘unspams’ it.

  23. A particularly annoying example is the habit if describing standing passengers as ‘standees’ – even in the most crammed circumstances I’ve never seen people being stood on.
    (no time today because sluggish response resulted in being unable to get into the puzzle till the timer ha been running for about a quarter of an hour)

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