QC 2466 by Hurley

A good puzzle which I completed in a late medieval time (14:21). Some fine clues with a good variety of forms.

The surfaces today seem a bit clunky, with too many commas making them sound rough, and unlikely as real sentences. In my view, the best surfaces are ones that could have been written by a journalist or author without sounding forced or artificial, such as “A job with the French Christian missionary”. Surfaces with phrases or words appended together with commas or dashes score less highly, such as “Act of self-gratification, pert — I go mad”

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, {deletions} and other indicators (in parentheses). No colours!

1 Conservative running angry London area (7,5)
CHARING CROSS – C{onservative} + HARING (running) + CROSS (angry)
8 Always missing venue initially, that is weird (5)
EERIE – EVER(always) with the V{enue} absent + IE (i.e.=that is)
9 House guy and child with one inside (7)
MANSION – MAN(guy) + SON (child) containing I(one)
10 Untreated timber — that’s unfair treatment (3,4)
RAW DEAL – RAW (untreated) + DEAL (timber)

DEAL for timber was new to me, it is some kind of standard plank, whose size and species varies  in a way that makes it not very standard.

11 Fireside area, no longer hot, where we live (5)
EARTH – {h}EARTH (Fireside area)
12 Challenge as false, troublemaker, fudging on regular basis (6)
IMPUGN – IMP(troublemaker) + f{U}d{G}i{N}g

The letters UGN from FUDGING looked as unlikely as the alternative alternate FDG.

14 Daze Proust’s written about? (6)
STUPOR – (PROUST)* anagram indicated by “written about”
17 Wading bird, one admired at start of November (5)
HERON – HERO{one admired} + N{ovember}
19 A job with the French Christian missionary (7)
APOSTLE – A + POST(job)  + LE (“the” in French)
21 Act of self-gratification, pert — I go mad (3,4)
EGO TRIP – (PERT I GO)* with “mad” as the anagram indicator
22 Leaders of society you recall in anguished country (5)
SYRIA – Initial letters of “society you recall in anguished”.

As noted last time I blogged, where INDIA cropped up with the phrase “backward country”, this time SYRIA seems to be described as “anguished country” at first glance. Of course the setter has a whole bunch of adjectives that could be used, so I think this choice was semi-deliberate.

23 I need change from computer work — I’m sure about that! (4,2,4,2)
TAKE IT FROM ME – Double def. with IT=computer work

I imagine at some corporate offsite when they are reorganising the business a VP agrees to swap a department and says “Take IT from me”.

1 Showing sound judgment, authorised housing site, we hear (5-7)
CLEAR-SIGHTED – Sounds like “clear sited”

“We hear” must apply to the whole phrase “authorised housing site”, but I don’t see how this works. Would a builder say to a developer, “once I have clear-sited this lot we can get started”

(Edited) “housing” is a containment indicator. So the parsing is CLEARED (authorised) including (‘housing’) SIGHT (site, we hear). Many thanks to Kevin for cracking this one.

2 Weapon of old, small in breadth, top missing (5)

Came up recently, clued this way.

3 One showing little emotion presenting lettuce (7)
ICEBERG – Double def

The figurative meaning, according to the OED is “A person possessing a cold, unemotional or unresponsive nature.” Never come across it in the wild.

4 Willing to hide billion pounds — risky venture (6)
GAMBLE – GAME (willing) contains B{illion} + L(pounds)
5 Give a light tint to some hair in session (5)
RINSE – Hidden in hair in session

I had TINGE at first here. I had to check the dictionary to see if RINSE could mean colour, which it can: both the verb and the noun, in fact. Probably most famous for the Blue-rinse brigade: “affluent older women involved in Conservative politics”

6 Purist upset, making case for right riding equipment (7)
STIRRUP – (PURIST)* contains R{ight}

“Making Case for” is a containment indicator.

7 Contest where Equus has no realistic rival? (3-5,4)
ONE-HORSE RACE – Cryptic def

Weak clue unless I am misunderstanding it. Equus (Latin for horse) seems a poor way of avoiding “horse” in the clue.

13 Garden feature, leapfrog, organised after female leaves (7)

Pergola, Gazebo, Arbour, Trellis, Pavilion: all subtly different. But real men just have a shed.

15 Maybe unworthily take trophy (not half!) supported by employer (7)
TROUSER – TRO{phy}+ USER (employer)

A little old-fashioned, put (money, etc.) into one’s trouser pocket, often in a manner regarded as dishonest or morally dubious. Works exactly the same as the more common POCKET.

16 Complain over extremely explicit reprimand (6)
CARPET – CARP (complain) + E{xplici}T

This comes from originally calling a servant in to the parlour to be reprimanded. Since extended to other establishments such as school and the military. About the same vintage as TROUSER, above.

18 Even up, embracing Republican — that shows courage (5)
NERVE – EVEN reversed, contains R{epublican}
20 Monotonously repeat part of myth, rumour (5)
THRUM – Hidden in “myth, rumour”

An onomatopoeic word, sort of a rumble or hum.

57 comments on “QC 2466 by Hurley”

  1. 12:12 Wouldn’t “authorised housing site” lead to “cleared sight” rather than CLEAR-SIGHTED? Also didn’t understand what “repeat” was doing in the definition for THRUM. Other than those two many enjoyable clues, especially TAKE IT FROM ME.

  2. Isn’t the repetition of noise what thrumming is? Anyway I’m with curryowen on CLEAR-SIGHTED, no problem with it from my end. Also with Merlin on ONE-HORSE RACE, but on PERGOLA I don’t think any of the structures listed would pass as a shed! An enjoyable puzzle from Hurley, I started off extremely slowly (my heart sinks at ‘London area’, there are so many of them) but got going in the bottom half and finished in 9.08. Interesting about the clue for SYRIA, I agree with Merlin. What if ‘anguished’ had been ‘admirable,’ say? The only time I’ve ever heard ICEBERG in that sense was in the 1970s when Bjorn Borg’s nickname in the press was The Iceborg…

  3. CLEAR-SIGHTED: CLEARED (authorised) including (‘housing’) SIGHT (site, we hear)

  4. I never checked TAKE IT FROM ME, just biffed it; nice clue, though. Given what Syria has been going through the last few years, ‘anguished’ seems quite appropriate. 5:31.

  5. 11 minutes, missing my target because I lost time semi-biffing COVENT GARDEN at 1ac because G and R were the only checkers I had in place at that stage and evidently I chose to ignore the enumeration. I wonder if anywhere in London can be defined as an area simply on the basis that it exists somewhere in London?

  6. I was in for a pretty fast time until I hit a brick wall with CLEAR SIGHTED, in the end coming in all green in 20 minutes exactly. If I hadn’t reached for my coffee at around the 12 minute mark , fearing it would go cold, I’d have been sub-20 and moved nearer to the children at the front of the class, but it wasn’t to be. How annoying! Still, I enjoyed chewing each clue over and continue to tell myself that speed isn’t really important. (That said, it still produces a frisson of excitement when I think I might temporarily escape the SCC – worthy though my fellow members are!)
    There were no real stand out clues for me today, although CARPET made me crack a smile.
    Thank you Hurley for a nice puzzle, and to Merlin for weaving his usual magic.

  7. An engaging puzzle from Hurley, where I met my target and avoided the dreaded typos. I was held up slightly at the end by struggling to spot IMPUGN before then seeing my LOI (I’d filled in “clear” earlier). My COD was biffed, and only when I parsed it afterwards did the subtlety emerge.

    TIME 4:40

  8. I’m in a typo phase again so not all green in 13 – this time with THurM for THRUM wrecking SYRIA in the process, so two errors from two pink squares. Enjoyed this one . MANSION raised a smile as I’d grappled for a while before it came with a nice PDM. All my real troubles were in the NW with IMPUGN and CLEAR SIGHTED the last – needed Kevin via Merlin to understand that one – thanks all!

  9. I took Equus from the stage play of that name, displaying my ignorance of Latin. A PB from me – but still closer to Victorian than medieval….. 18:21

  10. Just under 12 minutes for me, for a relatively regulation solve. I agree with our blogger that the clue for One horse race seems a bit weak – perhaps I’m missing something, but the use of Equus suggested that a play was involved somehow, rather than just being a convoluted way of indicating the horse part of the answer.

    Otherwise no problems, though Clear-sighted only parsed post entry (and I agree with Kevin’s assessment).

    Many thanks to Merlin for the blog.

  11. An excellent puzzle. I enjoyed it after a difficult start – I made no progress in the NW corner at first but recovered by filling in the rest of the grid in a clockwise sweep. I returned to finish with CHARING CROSS and my LOI CLEAR SIGHTED.
    I finished a minute over my target, all parsed except my LOI. (Thanks Kevin).
    Kudos to Hurley for some fine clues and a fair but testing QC. I especially enjoyed EERIE, PERGOLA, and IMPUGN.
    Thanks to Merlin for a good blog which I will now peruse more closely. John M.

  12. A possible personal best for me at 5’15” with SYRIA the last one in and
    probably costing me the near impossible to comprehend sub 5 mins (I couldn’t type random letters quick enough to have a Greggian 3-something).

    I liked CHARING CROSS & TAKE IT FROM ME but to be honest I liked them all.

    Thanks Hurley and Merly!

      1. If Busman keeps it up then that may be my reference if I ever go sub 6 again. Until then I’m afraid you’re the SI unit!!!

  13. 15.57. I think the first time I have managed to start at the start and work through without diversion. Another milestone!

  14. Finished the bottom and then the top in a steadyish solve, fairly quick in fact.
    Thanks vm, Merlin.

  15. Great puzzle today – thanks Hurley and Merlin. Thanks too for Kevin because I hadn’t understood clear sighted either. Particularly enjoyed Take it from me – very clever!

  16. 12:11 (fighting on Welsh border, followed by peace treaty between Llewelyn and John)

    Excellent puzzle today. LOI was 1d, with the realisation of what the “housing” meant a necessary part of seeing the answer.

    Thanks Merlin and Hurley

  17. Although I agree with Merlin about the surfaces, this was a fine challenge which took average time although there were no obscurities and nothing below the belt. 1a mystified until I had C..A….S.., when it fell immediately. FOI CLEAR-SIGHTED, LOI MANSION, COD TAKE IT FROM ME.. Thanks Hurley and Merlin

  18. Took quite a while to gain any kind of foothold but once I got going everything fell nicely into place. Thanks for the blog Merlin. Deal was new to me, as was CARPET in that sense. Thought there was something funny about CLEAR SIGHTED but hadn’t fully appreciated the parsing. COD to TROUSER, a word I always find amusing. Unbelievably my LOI was ICEBERG 🙄 I found this just the right side of stretching – very enjoyable.

  19. Looking forward to a day when I might be flying across the grid … but at present it’s still a struggle, all green in about 40 minutes. A good puzzle – thanks, Hurley. FOI EARTH, COD TAKE IT FROM ME, LOI TROUSER – thank you, Merlin, for showing how the parsing (“maybe unworthily”?? couldn’t see it) works. The “vintage” for both TROUSER and CARPET must be earlier than most of us?
    EERIE was no problem – couldn’t see the point of “missing venue initially” – surely EER (as it stands) is deemed permissible without having to explain the missing V?

    1. I couldn’t see the point of the V for a long time, but then EVER came to mind. Unnecessary as you say, but I took it as the setter putting in a bit of misdirection to waste our time and then having a chuckle at our expense. All part of the fun.

      1. Strange that our opinions should vary about the V because having read Martinu’s comment and before reading yours I had been about to say that I thought that, this being a QC, the setter had decided to be helpful pointing us in the direction of always = EVER instead of the less common and more poetic E’ER.

        Of course he then had to deal with removing the V but without that the clue would have to read ‘Always, that is weird’, which would be a bit weird in itself!

        1. Interesting how Great Minds don’t always think alike! In Crosswordland, I think I have met EER more often than EVER. In the real world EVER is not always synonymous with ALWAYS.
          If I say “I will love you for ever” it is synonymous, as well as probably untrue, but it can also be used as in “Did you ever watch Spurs when Kane played for them?”
          Only Hurley knows what was in his mind. Maybe he used the V for the reason implied by your final sentence.

  20. Inside target by a few seconds after being held up by SIGHTED, which I persevered with having all the checkers, and entered only partially parsed until enlightened by Kevin – thanks. My LOI was actually one of the easiest clues – EARTH, only because I didn’t look at it first time through for some reason. I also slowed myself down by getting fixated on that well known area of London, Clapham Cross until Charing came to mind. Good puzzle, good blog – thanks both.

  21. 4:01

    Very much on the wavelength today! My average against Hurley is one of the lowest against the more-regular setters at 9m27s. Blasted through this, only missing a couple of the acrosses (1a and 23a) which made filling in the downs far simpler with so many checkers available. Bifd CHARING CROSS with all checkers in place – didn’t think too deeply about CLEAR-SIGHTED either.

    Thanks Hurley and Merlin

  22. TAKE IT FROM ME this was a slow steady solve but no EGO TRIP, once I held my NERVE.

    At 19A I thought I was looking for an obscure Christian sect, and at 7D thought my knowledge of theatre might let me down. Enjoyed getting my head round them.

    LOI CLEAR SIGHTED, which I obviously was not.

    Thanks Hurley for an enjoyable workout and Merlin.

  23. With long clues I either see them right away or need all the crossers. In this case three fell into the latter category making the puzzle harder than it might otherwise have been.
    All done in 46m however.
    Some clever misdirections I thought.
    COD IMPUGN for looking so unlikely
    LOI ICEBERG (I too had only heard this used as Iceborg)
    Thanks Hurley and Merlin.

  24. I sped through this starting with THRUM. My last two were CHARING CROSS AND CLEAR SIGHTED and they required a bit of time and some checkers to unravel. I had guessed 1d would end PITCHED so that caused a delay. Once I had CLEAR I was done and home in 9 minutes.
    I never did fully parse 1d when solving so thanks to Kevin for clearing that up -not straightforward.
    COD to 1a as there are lots of angry London areas at present with ULEZ expansion next week.

  25. It seems most people seem to have taken a little longer than their norm on this one, but for some reason I found it easier than some I’ve tackled of late, finishing in 7.04. This time seemed unlikely when I had only six of the acrosses on my first pass, but all the down clues went straight in which made the missing across clues fairly straightforward.
    I wasn’t confused by the parsing of CLEARSIGHTED which I correctly interpreted almost instantly, but strangely I struggled to parse SYRIA, taking it be the ‘anguished country’, and wondering how AIR could mean ‘in’!

  26. A slow and steady solve today, but once again ended up in the SCC with 22:40. Glad I had come across deal=timber on here before, as well as carpet. LOI CLEAR-SIGHTED, COD CHARING CROSS, WOD TROUSER. Thanks Merlin and Hurley.

  27. Didn’t think I was going to finish this one as I start poorly. However, perseverance and a little help from the cat got me there in the end.

    I really liked 23a, but didn’t like 1d.

    No aids used today.

  28. Enjoyable puzzle from Hurley which I solved in 12 minutes. Parsed everything except 1dn where I had most of the crossers so just put it in without a great deal of thought. Didn’t have too much in the top half after the first pass but the bottom was more tractable, leading to a bottom-up solve. I had to get most of the crossers in place for 3 of the 4 long answers, the exception being ONE-HORSE RACE which, in my opinion was barely cryptic.

    FOI – 9ac MANSION
    LOI – 17ac HERON
    COD – 19ac APOSTLE. Also liked RAW DEAL and TAKE IT FROM ME

    Thanks to Hurley and Merlin

  29. A comfortable sub-20 turned into a narrow squeak thanks to loi 1d, Clear Sighted. When I initially looked at this, without any crossers, Pitch Perfect (a rather ironic ‘sound judgement’) came to mind, but even with all the crossers in place I was still just as far from the correct answer for several minutes. In the end, Clear and an alpha-trawl for Sighted saw me home just in time to avoid the SCC. Kevin’s parsing helped move the clue to within a nose of 23ac Take It From Me for CoD. Invariant

  30. Finished this one in an hour. Quite a nasty one, I thought. As others have said:
    ‘ 1 Down :
    Showing sound judgment, authorised housing site, we hear (5-7)
    CLEAR-SIGHTED – Sounds like “clear sited” ‘
    was a really bad clue, very unfair.

    1 Across was a very poor clue.

    “Trouser” was also bad.

    1. See blog for definition. The homophone is ‘site’ for ‘sight’. That is ‘housing’ ie inside of ‘cleared’ meaning authorised.

  31. Squeaked inside 10 minutes with CLEAR SIGHTED my LOI. it wasn’t until I saw the containment that it clicked. I nearly entered PERGODA but fortunately the anagram fodder nagged at me.

    1. Made a bit of a meal out of this. Finished the top half before going out for dinner and the bottom half after breakfast! I suppose it’s being in the wrong place at the right time, or vice versa.
      Whichever way I look at it I am late into the club as is my wont.
      Many good clues, liked IMPUGN, but TROUSERED took longer than it should and COD was 23A.
      Thanks Merlin and Hurley

  32. 18 mins so average time for me. Needed the blog to parse raw deal, earth and clear-sighted.
    COD for take it from me.
    Thanks Merlin (and Kevin) for very helpful blog.

  33. A quick solve today helped by getting CHARING CROSS straight away. I think the only clue I had trouble with was my LOI CLEAR-SIGHTED. Like our esteemed blogger I couldn’t understand the parsing so thank you Kevin for coming to the rescue. 6:48 which I’m rating as an excellent day following a disastrous travel day to our Mallorcan home yesterday (taxi driver who couldn’t find his way to Heathrow airport and near accident with a lorry, a prang to our own car when we arrived to pick it up at Palma airport and locked out of our Mallorcan bank account when paying for groceries).

      1. Thankfully we can drive it although we had to lever out a panel to open the passenger door. With the scratch and the dent it just looks like most of the cars in Mallorca now.

  34. Just over 10 minutes. I liked RAW DEAL which I spotted quickly and CHARING CROSS which I only solved courtesy of crossers. Interesting that there was an erudite discussion in keriothe’s Sunday Times blog only a couple of days ago about TROUSER(ED), specifically whether it always implies that something is taken ‘unworthily’, with the conclusion being that trousering was not a legitimate activity. Anyway it’s a good word and suggests some dodgy dealing to me.

    Thanks to Merlin and Hurley

  35. Took me a while to get into my stride, but got into it eventually. RINSE was FOI and ONE HORSE RACE came in last. 7:31. Thanks Hurley and Merlin.

  36. How lovely it would be to get 1a and 1d early in procedings when they lead to so many starting letters – just once or twice would do. But that was not the case today and I found it quite a struggle to work my way bottom up/middle out back to those two clues.

    On the way I had battles with GAMBLE, ICEBERG, RAW DEAL, ONE HORSE RACE and TAKE IT FROM ME, but I got there in the end and embarked the inevitable alphabet trawl for CHARING CROSS and CLEAR SIGHTED. This took around seven minutes and I crossed the line, with some relief, in 36 minutes.

    Mrs Random dashed through her attempt in just 13 minutes and couldn’t really understand why I had found it quite challenging. She listened patiently to my frustrations and said that our combined grey cells must be working OK …. on average!

    Many thanks to Hurley and Merlin.

  37. 14.55 All of the long ones required checkers, except for 7d which I foolishly biffed as ONE HORSE TOWN initially. CLEAR SIGHTED took several minutes and was LOI. This felt like a slog but I was slow on the concise today so it’s me not the puzzles. Thanks to Merlin and Hurley.

  38. Everything except raw deal and clear sighted done in about 7 mins, another 4 to get those including writing out the latter on paper as I couldn’t see it on my phone.

    COD pergola

  39. 27 mins…

    I spent a good 7 mins of those trying to resolve 1dn “Clear Sighted”, 10ac “Raw Deal” and, more embarrassingly, 2dn “Arrow” – I’d got it into my head that it was one of those ornamental knife things that we often have in the quick crossword.

    The rest I enjoyed.

    FOI – 5dn “Rinse”
    LOI – 10ac “Raw Deal”
    COD – “Take it from me”

    Thanks as usual!

  40. 28:37

    Slow today. Maybe out of practice after holidays? But really struggled with SW corner, EGO TRIP, CARPET and LOI CLEAR SIGHTED.

  41. Incompetent, incapable, inept … every time I think I have reached rock bottom, I find new ways of making a complete fool of myself.

    Easily on target to avoid SCC until I was brought to my knees by 10ac and 2dn. Totally misread 2dn, thinking there was an ‘s’ in a synonym for breadth with the first letter missing. This error was compounded by putting RUM DEAL rather than RAW DEAL for 10ac.

    I realised my mistakes eventually but my time was 36 mins by then. Given my start, this was a humiliating way to finish. I was so close to a good time. If I had avoided just one of these errors, the other clue would have easily fallen into place.

    Total time for week already at 57 mins, so that’s yet another week blown.

    This reminds me of my day’s playing golf. 16 or 17 good holes ruined by 1 or 2 disasters. Three years of experience and I’m still capable of the most embarrassing errors.

    Back for more suffering tomorrow. These things used to be fun!

    Thanks for the blog.

  42. This must have been in the PB territory for me. All done in around 11 mins- compared to my usual 20-30. Amazing as that’s faster than many of regulars here. Everything just went straight in.

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