QC 1845 by Hurley

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic

Went through this pretty quickly and almost sequentially. Thank you Hurley for an enjoyable puzzle although it was marred I think by 5D at which my eyebrow went so far up my forehead that it seems to have become permanently lost amongst my hair.

Incidentally, great little one-liner for this community:

“I told my wife she painted her eyebrows too high. She looked surprised!”

FOI was 1A. LOI was the said 5D because I kept looking for some other way in which it might work. I think it might have been my COD if it had worked, but otherwise I don’t really think I have one. But as it is traditional to make a choice I will pick 8A as it has the smoothest surface that I can see.

Definitions are underlined and everything else is explained just as I see it as simply as I can.

1 Bother from unexpected source — swear initially! (4)
FUSS – take the initial letters (‘initially’) of From Unexpected Source Swear.
3 Polish securing place to sleep by Lake Country (8)
SCOTLAND – SAND (polish, as in sanding a floorboard) ‘securing’ COT (a place to sleep) + L (lake).
8 A group working in desert (7)
ABANDON – A + BAND (a group) + ON (working).
10 Matching set of furniture in clubs perhaps, ultimately adequate (5)
SUITE – SUIT (clubs ‘perhaps’ – one of the suits in a deck of cards), + E (‘ultimately’ inadequatE).
11 Small, mischievous creature at church event in sort of restaurant? (4-7)
SELF-SERVICE – S (small) + ELF (mischievous creature) + SERVICE (church event).
13 Small piece that’s extra about Southern Liberal (6)
MORSEL – MORE (extra) ‘about’ S (southern) + L (Liberal)
15 We hear unique German article a marvel (6)
WONDER – WON (sounds like ONE (unique)) + DER, one of the many forms of the German definite article.
17 Enrolled compulsorily — odd precincts do (11)
CONSCRIPTED – straight anagram (‘odd’) of PRECINCTS DO.
20 A complex system of paths creates surprise (5)
AMAZE – A + MAZE (complex system of paths).
21 Mistaken leg name leading to confusion (7)
MELANGE – straight anagram (‘mistaken’) of LEG NAME.
22 Limit broken by industrious worker, aggressive (8)
MILITANT – anagram of LIMIT (‘broken’) + ANT (worker. The ANT is one of the main types of worker you meet in Crossworld, the others being BEE and HAND (and there are probably a few others if you think hard enough)).
23 Old actress Mae’s direction (4)
WEST – double definition, as in MAE WEST, whom you will also sometimes meet as rhyming slang for a VEST.
1 Sea for me strangely frightening (8)
FEARSOME – straight anagram (‘strangely’) of SEA FOR ME.
2 This covering could make tool quiet at first (5)
SHAWL – AWL (tool) with SH (quiet ‘at first’)
4 Container a railway emptied for flier (6)
CANARY – CAN (container) + A + RY (a RailwaY ’emptied’ – i.e. with the contents, the inner letters, removed.) Of course we also often meet RY as a straight contraction for railway but that’s not what’s happening here as it would spoil the surface.
5 Upset to some extent, civilian omits ethical character statement (11)
TESTIMONIAL –  see preamble. I think this is simply an editorial error. It is nearly a very clever reversed hidden word but it doesn’t quite make it: ‘upset’ (i.e. reversed in this down clue) ‘to some extent’ civiLIAN OMITS EThical. Except that the I and the A are the wrong way round unless I am just being thick and someone can show me how it really works. Perhaps if it read ‘Almost upset to some extent…’ it might work?
6 Flavouring from Pakistan, I see — delightful! (7)
ANISEED – hidden word, but no problem with this one: ‘from’ pakistAN I SEE Delightful.
7 Something done, however you look at it (4)
DEED – i.e. whether you look at it backwards or forwards (or indeed upwards or downwards in this down clue).
9 Judgment of exceptional minds — recent (11)
DISCERNMENT – straight anagram (‘exceptional’) of MINDS RECENT.
12 Inclination of duke that is seen in funds for student (8)
GRADIENT – D (duke) + IE (id est, that is) ‘seen in’ GRANT (funds for student).
14 Upset everyone in island (7)
ROCKALL – ROCK (upset) + ALL (everyone). My geography is rubbish but I believe Rockall is a tiny island a couple of hundred miles north of Scotland. Most people have heard of it because there is a sea area named after it that features in the Shipping Forecast.
16 Last word about copper’s insight (6)
ACUMEN – AMEN is the last word. Put it ‘about’ CU (Cu is the chemical symbol for copper) and you should achieve some insight into the answer.
18 Slight colouring from drinking bout — new start needed! (5)
TINGE – BINGE (drinking bout) with a ‘new start’.
19 Friend at outset mentions tree (4)
PALM – PAL (friend) + M (Mentions ‘at outset’).

59 comments on “QC 1845 by Hurley”

  1. MORSEL took me some time, as I was taking SL to be included rather than just S. It also took some time to recall ROCKALL. I biffed TESTIMONIAL and never did see how it worked, or didn’t; thanks, Don. 6:30.
  2. Lucky I bunged it in without thinking!

    If only it had been “chapLAIN OMITS EThical”!!

  3. 10 minutes.

    The annexation of ROCKALL by the UK in September 1956 marked the final expansion of the British Empire. Flanders and Swann celebrated the event in song in their revue ‘Fresh Airs’ which was running at the time, here performed with the reassembled cast of the show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pRc9uOZfCF0.

    I was having difficulty with parsing 5dn so as 10 minutes had passed I made an exception to my general rule and stopped the clock with the clue unparsed. Afterwards I spotted the reversed OMITS and then that whole word was hidden. I didn’t see the error but like to think I would have done if I’d been on blogging duty.

    Edited at 2021-04-05 03:03 am (UTC)

  4. Same as above pretty much. Liked BINGE and even though it was easy ANISEED. Thanks Don and Hurley

  5. I feel that I made harder work of this than I should have done, not helped by reading the definition in 1a as ‘brother’ so spent a while trying to think of siblings and monks ending in ‘s’. I also needed to write out the long anagrams at 9d and 17a. I never did manage to parse 5d but hadn’t thought of looking for a reversed hidden – even if it had worked.
    Finished in 11.40 with LOI FUSS.
    Thanks to astartedon
  6. FOI: 1a FUSS

    Time to Complete: DNF

    Clues Answered Correctly without aids: 18

    Clues Answered with Aids (3 lives): 17a, 9d

    Clues Unanswered: 8a, 13a, 21, 14d

    Wrong Answers: Nil

    Total Correctly Answered (incl. aids): 20/24

    Aids Used: Chambers, Bradfords

    I struggled a little on this one, ending up with 4 clues I could not answer.

    8a. ABANDON – I read desert as meaning one of those hot, dry sandy places, and so had ARABIAN in for a while. But when I wanted to put DISCERNMENT for 9d, I was stuck. I deleted ARABIAN and sat there dumbfounded as to what the answer could be.

    21a. MELANGE – I guessed this was anagram, but then was not convinced as I could not see the word. Seeing the answer here I guess I have learned a new word, as MELANGE was not on my vocabulary.

    17a. CONSCRIPTED – “odd precincts do” had me very confused. I was taking all the odd letters, which broke it for me. Did not read odd as being an anagram. Of all the types of clues I miss, anagrams seem to be the one that alludes me most. I am always missing the anagram indicator.

    No candy for me today. Yeah right, as if! I still have Easter eggs to eat.

  7. MELANGE was new to me too and I had a lengthy debate with myself about where to put the A. I was glad to see ANISEED because I had to try quite a few starting letters before what was hidden became apparent. Ended up all green in 17 but didn’t parse TESTIMONIAL. Six on the first pass of acrosses — including have to come back to FUSS which I suspected on first reading but couldn’t immediately parse.

    Tried the Sunday main puzzle yesterday and had three after 20 minutes when I quit. It’s days like that that make me think I should keep my Telegraph puzzles subscription going!

    1. I had a similar experience with yesterday’s puzzle, which seemed trickier than an average Sunday.
      1. I did finish yesterday’s puzzle, but had to resort to aids at one stage. I agree that it was quite tough. I can’t say anymore because of our conventions on not revealing answers on prize puzzles before the deadline.
  8. No idea what happened here — posted a comment, pressed “Add a comment” and … it disappears. I didn’t think it was that bad a comment …

    I will try again

  9. … as it took me 14 minutes to finish this one, and on reviewing I can’t really see why. Failed to spot the setter error in 5D Testimonial — Brnchn’s clue is much better — and main hold-up was on 2D Shawl. I’d like to claim it was because the surface seemed a bit odd and confused me (better “Quiet tool creates covering” perhaps?) but it was basically just a brain-fade.

    Many thanks to Don for the blog

  10. After trying the usual upset I thought “almost upset” could be test(y) it sort of worked!
  11. Pretty much on par 25 minute enjoyable solve without too much difficulty.
    No problem with 5D. I assumed “to some extent” indicated the “ial” disparity.
    Mélange quite familiar in food terms and a term used to mix up cards too instead of a shuffle. Incidentally I made a salt beef brisket for the first time. After marinating /soaking for a week and then slow cooking for 8 hours it was delicious last night. Same cannot be said of the sauerkraut which was inedible due to overdoing the quantity of salt by a factor of 10.
    Thanks Hurley and Don (if my eyebrows went up into my hair they would be facing backwards!)
  12. Good puzzle. I filled the top half almost completely and then jumped about the bottom half a bit with the simple TINGE as my LOI. I was immersed deeply enough to be quite surprised when I was a minute over target. I thought I was quicker.
    Many good clues and the odd question mark on details (above) didn’t bother me because so many words just dropped out with the crossers making the answer unique. That said, I raised an eyebrow at sand/polish which are not synonymous to me as a long-time amateur woodworker. Sanding is smoothing but polishing is something quite different. Perhaps Hurley has not worked with wood?
    Apart from that, many thanks to Hurley and thanks to Don for the usual excellent blog. John M.

    Edited at 2021-04-05 08:51 am (UTC)

    1. Another MER at sand= polish. Definitely not the same at all to me and I’m not a woodworker, even the floorboard example quoted doesn’t work for me. Sanding might be a precursor to polishing…
      1. It’s the Oxford dictionary definition of ‘polish’ that lets the setter off the hook: Smoothness or glossiness produced by rubbing or friction.

        ‘Sanding’ covers the first.

          1. Yes but definitions and answers don’t have to be synonymous in every context only in one, and that’s covered by the Oxford entry quoted above.
  13. A fairly quick start for me (although FOI was only 10a), but I slowed down towards the end and I took about five minutes on my last three; DISCERNMENT, MILITANT and LOI PALM, which I should have got much sooner because I know “friend” is usually “pal” and I did consider it without coming up with the name of a tree. Unsurprisingly didn’t spot the mistake in 5d though I did see the reversal. I thought “Villain” would have worked, though as noted above, “chaplain” might be more appropriate. Anyway, a good variety of clues I thought and it hit the right level for a QC. COD to 9d as I failed to spot the anagrind for ages, time: 26:51. Thanks Hurley and Astartedon, and also Jack for the F and S link and for prompting me to look up Rockall. I now know almost infinitely more than I did about it.
  14. Thanks steakcity. I did in fact consider your method of ‘saving’ the clue (amongst several others), but as far as I can see that is the indicator of the hidden word — i.e. that we are supposed to used the phrase ‘to some extent’ as opposed to all of it.


  15. Nothing too challenging in this one – we finished in 7 minutes. Very enjoyable with some lovely clues. We didn’t question TESTIMONIAL – was a write in but can now see the error in the clue.


    Thanks Hurley and Astartedon.

  16. Not sure why I made so much FUSS. I had to totter all round the grid. Fast on WEST, ABANDON, SUITE, AMAZE, CANARY. Slow on SCOTLAND, SELF SERVICE, TESTIMONIAL (biffed) and LOI GRADIENT.
    The long anagrams seemed tricky this morning. Luckily I listened to the shipping forecast (bad) yesterday and so got ROCKALL quickly.
    A clever puzzle. 5d – Perhaps Upset to some Extent means the last 3 letters of the reverse are an anagram??
    To my mind, MELANGE. means mixture. A melange of flavours. And, as OldBlighter says, sand is not the same as polish.
    Thanks vm, Don.

    Edited at 2021-04-05 08:57 am (UTC)

  17. 13:11 but felt slower. A couple of nice words that made me smile as they are just nice to say: MELANGE ACUMEN.

    Thanks for posting the “Sweet Rockall” video, did not know that it was annexed in the 1950s just as the Empire was rapidly shrinking. I hope to use the expression “and Sweet Rockall” in the next discussion about the legacy of Empire.

    I don’t know how any of the speedy solvers have time to check clues like TESTIMONIAL, several times in the puzzle I look at the clue and figure, “must be in there somewhere”. With a couple of checkers and a definition this seems the only way to get a fast time. Not that that’s the only way to play this game.


  18. 14:00 exactly for me with LOI CONSCRIPTED having wasted time earlier writing it all out and failing to get it.
    I found this difficult in places but clear once I got the answer; the sign of a good puzzle.
    I didn’t notice the TESTIMONIAL problem having got it from the definition.
    COD to ROCKALL which had me going in the wrong direction for a while.
  19. 14 minutes here, so edging to the harder end of the Rotterometer. I admit I didn’t parse 5d, and only parsed 15d at the last minute. Like Geoff W above, I played with TESTy to get 5d started, but never saw the possible, nearly but not quite, reverse hidden until I came here. Well blogged Astartedon, and thanks both.
  20. Cracking puzzle, much enjoyed. Fortunately I was too thick to spot the reverse hidden and had biffed it from the checkers. The acrosses seemed harder than the downs.

    FOI FUSS, LOI SCOTLAND (I was working with “rub” for polish and “bed” for place to sleep so it wasn’t going well …), COD TESTIMONIAL just for the sheer brass neck of hiding an 11 letter word, time 08:25 for 1.3K and a Very Good Day. Now for the Jumbo – hoorah for Bank Holidays.

    Many thanks Hurley and Don.


    Edited at 2021-04-05 10:10 am (UTC)

  21. TESTIMONIAL work, but it was so obviously what was intended, I didn’t waste any longer than that.

    MILITANT and PALM held me up slightly to to take a very fast solve to just a fast solve. I was looking for a homophone for a tree, taking mentions as an indicator, rather than just its first letter.

    Otherwise, a neat example of a QC.


  22. Hurley apologises for the error in the TESTIMONIAL clue, which was meant to be a straight reversed hidden. Many thanks for the blog and also to commenters.
    1. Thanks Hurley. You guys do a wonderful job and usually get everything completely right so when I come across something like that my first instinct is to question my own sanity rather than assume an error on your part.

      Thank you and all the other setters for the enjoyment you give us all.


    2. It was still a remarkable clue. Thanks. Nice to know that even an esteemed setter like Hurley can make a small slip.

      Edited at 2021-04-05 10:44 am (UTC)

      1. It had been corrected on my phone (chaplain) when I did it just now but I still biffed it and couldn’t see how it was parsed.
  23. 12 minutes. My LOI was PALM — i was looking for a homophone (mention!).I didn’t notice the problem with TESTIMONIAL as I just wrote it in with the checkers. Perhaps ‘to some extent’ refers to the tweaked letter order as well as the hidden word?
  24. I started off by making a FUSS at 1a, then carried on with FEARSOME ABANDON, failing to notice that TESTIMONIAL didn’t quite work, and finished off with WEST in the S. East. 7:33. Thanks Hurley and Don.
  25. I made heavy weather of Hurley today. Not sure why – just took ages to fight my way through a number of what should have been relatively straightforward clues. I didn’t help myself by mis-biffing ‘suits’ for SUITE and ‘singe’ for TINGE. DEED and CONSCRIPTED were immediately obvious once I’d corrected my errors, but it took me a long time to see them.

    My LOI was SELF-SERVICE, which took me about 10 minutes in total. I focussed on S_L_ and found 10 words (from ‘sale’ to ‘sulk’) on my first pass. My second pass added two more words to my list, but none led to a type of restaurant. My third pass yielded precisely nothing, and I only saw SELF on my fourth pass through the alphabet. Full marks for perseverance maybe, but zero for a finishing time of exactly 1-hour.

    As usual, Mrs Random had no such problems and floated across the line in 23 minutes. She’s now outside applying some wood stain to a new banister rail before it’s fitted. Actually, she has probably nearly finished, given the time I’ve taken here.

    1. I hope Mrs R doesn’t think SAND and POLISH are equivalent when applied to the banister.
  26. I thought this was quite tricky in places — uncannily the exact same ones that I struggled over… Palm (wrong end), Self Service (brain fade) and parsing Testimonial. I actually gave up trying to parse 5d once as the 25min mark approached. At that point I hadn’t even considered a reversed hidden, so that clue was well and truly wasted on me. CoD to 12d, Gradient, which turned out to be easier than it first read. Invariant
    1. Nicely done, setter, editor and online chaps to make this correction. Clue now reads “Only partially recalled, chaplain omits ethical character statement”. Now it’s a great clue. Kudos brnchn for suggesting this.
  27. FOI wonder, at 15 ac, didn’t bode well. West at 23 ac went in next. Nothing then until canary – then it all started to collapse. Saw testimonial right away – but did I? I didn’t notice the nail at the end, so there was a bit of carelessness on my part – a slight biff, it turns out. Frowned in confusion at Scotland, but biffed it since it could not have been anything else. LOI Rockall. COD discernment, as I like long anagrams. Thanks, Don, for the blog and Hurley for the entertainment. GW.
  28. Pleasant steady solve in abt 20m. Like others we just bunged in testimonial without further thought. Nice puzzle for a Monday. Thanks Hurley and for the blog.
  29. ….and no COD for me. I biffed TESTIMONIAL which was perhaps as well. Time 4:11.
  30. I had the opposite experience to OldBlighter in that I thought it took me longer than it actually did and came in two minutes under target 😉 On the other hand, I had a very similar experience to Templar in that I biffed 5d without seeing the reverse hidden — and by the time I did the puzzle at 2.30 pm, the clue had been amended but I still didn’t see it! I’ll blame exhaustion — we had to get up at the crack of dawn to take delivery on behalf of our daughter of a puppy that had just arrived from Romania! Cue much excitement 😊
    Anyway, I found this pretty straightforward and a pleasant start to the week.
    FOI Fuss
    LOI Amaze — no idea why I couldn’t see it straightaway
    COD Rockall — I’ll check out the link now

    Many thanks Hurley and Don — and I echo Don’s compliments to all setters

  31. Quite tricky in parts but finished in an acceptable (for me) 18 minutes. Didn’t parse either TESTIMONIAL or SCOTLAND and was therefore blissfully unaware of either a mistake in the clueing or the sand/polish controversy.

    FOI – 10ac SUITE
    COD – 16dn ACUMEN

  32. Time? About as long as it took Kletzki to conduct the Suisse Romande through Rach two. FOI 1a FUSS, LOI 22a MILITANT. COD 9d “Judgement of exceptional minds – recent”, as it can be modified to “Formal voiding of judgement of exceptional minds – recent”. Answers on a postcard….
    1. Well, I think I have heard every other recorded performance of the second (and have most of them on CD) but Kletzki’s has eluded me. Perhaps you have it on vinyl. The Eloquence (Australia) issue is unavailable as far as I can see, although there are a couple of examples in the USA at £50+ (plus expensive postage).
  33. One course today
    Biffed testimonial somehow.
    Blew a fuse at the use of polish / sand, just because a dictionary says something may mean they haven’t been corrected for some reason.
  34. A bit late today due to a Bank Holiday walk, however 25 mins to complete everything apart from 14dn which I never got (mainly as I’d never heard of it). Like many, biffed 5dn without parsing it and also disagreed with Sand = Polish.

    FOI — 1dn “Fearsome”
    LOI — 14dn dnf
    COD — 8ac “Abandon”

    Thanks as usual!

  35. FOI Fuss
    LOI Rockall
    COD Militant (made me smile for some reason)

    Tricky but led you around nicely so that even Scotland was getable after playing with bed and failing.

    Melange dragged from the depths…my WOD

    A good workout. Biffed Testimonial near the end because I wasn’t looking for a hidden and just thought it all looked to complicated to unravel!

    Thanks all
    John George

  36. 13:36. I came late to this, so only saw the brnchn variant of 5dn — a legit magnificent reverse hidden. It’s my COD
  37. Testimonial is fine! You wanted “almost” but you got “to some extent” which is almost the same thing!
    1. Sorry, but no it isn’t. If you will read the comments you will see that the setter himself has graciously apologised and admitted the error. ‘To some extent’ is the indicator for the hidden word, telling you that you only have to use part of the phrase. It cannot do double duty (and it would be dubious anyway) for indicating what would effectively be a miniature anagram involving only the swapping of two letters.
    2. My suggestion of adding ‘almost’ would have had the effect of saying that the device ‘almost’ worked and would have been valid. I didn’t spend long thinking about it though and in the end the clue that was eventually editorially substituted was far superior, using the word ‘chaplain’ which has the relevant letters in the correct order.

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