QC 2583 by Hurley

The new Saturday QCs require an extension of the blogging team and I am honoured to be invited to join them.  And as this is my first blog, I should introduce myself briefly.  I am a Londoner born and bred, and have lived all but 4 of my nearly 70 years in the city, so my comments will inevitably have an Anglo-centric feel to them I suspect.  My TfTT picture is not a random picture from the internet but my great grandfather, a successful businessman, bon viveur and society man about town – he sounds as if he was enormous fun and I am sorry I never knew him.  And I have a secret weapon, which is Mrs S, who is much more experienced than me at solving crosswords – we do the puzzles together, she on the 15×15 and me on the QC, and it is about 50-50 which of us finishes first.  If I admit to “using aids” it usually means I have asked her for help!

Today we have a very elegant puzzle from Hurley, which took me 12:25, which I consider about my average.  No difficult words or unusual GK, 6 nice anagrams and a variety of other well constructed clues – what’s not to like!  My COD was 11A for the surface which can be read in two ways, both very good.

How did everyone get on?

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

1 Perfect location, you heard, the best: central Siam (6)
UTOPIA – An IKEA clue, made up from U (you heard, ie sounds like “you”), TOP (the best) IA (central letters of Siam).
5 Area under water in southeast a British journalist follows (6)
SEABED – Another construction special, with SE (southeast), A B (a British), ED (the crossword setter’s go-to journalist).
8 Field officer referring to boss’s facial feature (8)
FOREHEAD – Our third “build it from components” clue in a row, this time FO (Field Officer), RE (referring to), HEAD (boss).  I did not know FO for Field Officer but it is a recognised abbreviation.
9 Talk about king’s clothing (4)
GARB – GAB (talk) with R (for King) in the middle of it.  Interestingly the clue “Talk about clothing” also just about works, as GARB = Brag, ie talk, backwards.  Who needs the king, as a republican might say.
10 The Spanish finally comb the river (4)
ELBE – The German river (though its source is actually in Czechia), made up from EL (“The” in Spanish) with the last two letters of comB thE.
11 Ceremony at first, then often it’s thrown (8)
CONFETTI – C (Ceremony at first, ie take the first letter) followed by (often it)* – “thrown” being one of the countless indicators of anagrams.  A very nice surface because confetti is often thrown after a wedding ceremony, and my COD.
12 All actors in show alternatively star (6)
CASTOR – CAST (all the actors) + OR (alternatively), the star Castor being one of the two very bright stars in the constellation Gemini, the other being Pollux.  My LOI and I was held up by initially reading “alternatively” as “take alternate letters of” – but of what?
14 Season of gold corporation needs starting out (6)
AUTUMN – We are back on IKEA clues again with AU (chemical symbol for gold), TUM (corporation), N (needs starting out, ie take the first letter of needs).  Tum for corporation is used extensively by crossword setters (most recently only 3 days ago in QC 2580) and almost never by anyone else.
16 Itchy, let loose in bad-tempered way (8)
TETCHILY – (itchy let)*, the anagram indicator being Loose.
18 Small piece of land in place associated with Old Testament (4)
PLOT – PL (common abbreviation for place) + OT (standard crossword abbreviation for Old Testament).
20 Praise twofold on way back (4)
LAUD – DUAL (twofold) reversed (“on the way back”).  Slight question-mark over Dual = twofold in my mind initially, but Collins has it.
21 One watching rook, lone, confused (8)
ONLOOKER – (rook lone)*, the anagram indicator this time being Confused.
23 Resolute golfer’s support for furniture item (6)
SETTEE – SET (Resolute) + TEE (golfer’s support).  A classic “lift and separate” – we are not considering a determined golfer here.
24 Party decoration Dad’s welcoming home — cheers after (6)
PINATA – PA (Dad) around IN (standard crossword shorthand for home), followed by TA (cheers).  A pinata (Mexican Spanish piñata) is a decorated container, usually filled with sweets or candy, which is broken open – often violently – at the culmination of the celebrations so that all may share in the contents.
2 Charge to restrict right on-line nuisance (5)
TROLL – TOLL (charge) containing R (right).  The old meaning of a troll as a mythical monster, usually large, malevolent and very ugly, has largely been lost.
3 Specious excuse before phone message (7)
PRETEXT – which we had as recently as last Tuesday (QC 2579), when it was clued as “Supposed reason”.  This time it is PRE (before) + TEXT (phone message).  I thought initially of answerphone messages, which rather shows my age.
4 Copy, ample, regularly used (3)
APE – the odd letters, ie “regularly used”, of AmPlE.
5 Being this, exercise needs a try? (9)
SEDENTARY – (Needs a try)*.  A clever surface:  if one is sedentary one needs exercise, and exercise is also doing duty as the anagram indicator.  I tried fitting Sedentiary in the grid at first, before realising it was (a) not the right spelling and (b) not the right letters.
6 Corner fish (5)
ANGLE – two meanings, and our first Double Definition of the puzzle.  Fish as the verb not fish the noun.
7 Mistake translating “maturer” (7)
ERRATUM – (maturer)*, with translating as our fifth anagram indicator of the day.
11 Unexpected rain — cover predator? (9)
CARNIVORE – (rain cover)*.  Unexpected is the word indicating an anagram this time.
13 Assert time is typical (7)
AVERAGE – AVER (assert) + AGE (time).  Aver for assert is a regular in crosswordland, and well worth remembering.
15 Extremely testy on phone, mostly about old storm (7)
TYPHOON – TY (the outermost, ie extreme, letters of TestY) + PHON (phone, mostly, ie dropping the last letter) around O (old).  A typhoon is the Asian name for what in the Western hemisphere is called a Hurricane, and can be just as devastating.
17 Part of facade thrills trainee (5)
CADET – Hidden in (ie part of) faCADE Thrills.
19 Completed on time? That’s clear (5)
OVERT – OVER (completed) + T (time).  Because it is a Down clue, Over is “on” (ie on top of) the T.
22 Circuit of China recalled (3)
LAP – the construction here is PAL (China is CRS for Pal or Mate, via China plate = Mate) backwards (ie recalled).  A complex clue to finish with.

74 comments on “QC 2583 by Hurley”

  1. At under 8 minutes, this would have been a PB if I was solving on computer, but the phone keyboard held me up enough to miss out on PB time (and I had a fat-finger typo any)!
    As I was solving I felt like there was a nice mix of clues, and they were pretty clearly identified, which makes me think this would be a great introductory puzzle for a new solver, but maybe I was just right on wavelength today.

  2. 8:43. Congrats, Cedric, on what I hope is your first of many blogs! Very entertaining and informative. We are indeed fortunate here in both our veteran and new bloggers. The only thing I might add is I think TYPHOONs are specific to the NW Pacific and cyclones are otherwise the term, especially in the Indian Ocean, but I think in the Philippines too.

    1. Thank you. My experience is based on 4 years living in Hong Kong, where they were definitely typhoons. I believe the word’s origin is Chinese – Dai Fung or Big Wind – but others may know more.

      1. The Shorter Oxford dates “typhoon” back to 1588 and gives two meanings: sense a is “A violent storm or tempest occurring in India” (from the Hindu tufao) and sense b is “A violent cyclonic storm or hurricane occurring in the China seas and adjacent regions, chiefly during the period from July to October” (from the Chinese tai fung).

  3. Lovely Blog, Cedric! I especially enjoyed the reference to previous QCs for words like PRETEXT which I would have struggled with had it not come up recently.

    My first Saturday solve! A few crosswordy (to me) things in here like the whole China plate/mate thing.

    ‘Corporation’ always makes me think of the excellent Mariah Carey diss-track blasting Eminem called ‘Obsessed’ where she sings (amongst other insults) that ‘you a mom-and-pop, I’m a corporation’. She might not have used the word if she was a frequent cryptic crossword solver!

    I enjoyed this crossword because it gave me a lot of opportunities to build an answer up in bits and pieces if I couldn’t get to the answer immediately

  4. 11 minutes. I remember the first time PINATA came up I struggled with it for ages but it’s now part of my regular crossword vocabulary. I think on that occasion it was defined with reference to a donkey.

  5. I mentioned yesterday that had it not been for getting PRETEXT wrong on Tuesday I’d have had a very rare clean sweep this week, so thank you Hurley for allowing me to correct my mistake this morning. I’m very grateful and am tempted to let this cancel out Tuesday’s mistake and therefore claim victory.
    I always find Hurley enjoyable and fair and came in all green this morning in around 21 minutes. So I remain on the SCC table at the back of the class but am hopeful of clawing my way back into Sir’s favour if this trend continues .
    SEDENTARY and AVERAGE were the two clues that slowed me down most, with CONFETTI and CARNIVORE being my favourites. PIÑATA and CASTOR had to be fully worked out as I was unsure that I’d heard of them.
    No Parkrun for me this morning as I’m doing a nighttime race in the local forest this evening, so no combined time this week.
    Many thanks to Cedric for his excellent blog.
    Enjoy your weekend all. ITTT.

    1. Hope you have a good race 👍 I know someone who did the 10miler last year and enjoyed it. MV trails are just uneven enough to make the thought of running in the dark, something my ankles won’t contemplate.

      1. Thanks. I was funnel-marshalling at MV this morning. Doing the 5 miler later. (Mrs ITTT signed me up as a Christmas present so it’s a bit of a shock really!)

  6. Well done on your first blog Cedric, we are very fortunate to have such consistently excellent bloggers.

    I found the puzzle fairly straightforward, helped by having my anagram cap firmly in place, and had no real delays. Like our blogger my LOI was CASTOR where I was wondering how the alternate letters of start could be added to cast and come up with some sort of word!
    Finished in 6.55.
    Thanks to Cedric and Hurley

  7. 15 mins…or more accurately 15 mins 17 seconds according to the Crossword Club timer. Yes, for the first time ever, I actually did this directly on my iPad and submitted it. However, I had a handy piece of paper next to me for the anagrams and general doodling.

    Anyway, I thought this was a nice puzzle. Cedric, you should take it as a compliment that, for some reason, I thought you’d already been doing this for quite a while. Great blog.

    FOI – 1ac “Utopia”
    LOI – 20ac “Laud”
    COD – 16ac “Tetchily” – readers of Private Eye may have had a chuckle at that.

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Yes, I did 😅
      Have just caught up with the most recent issue this morning. I particularly liked the WhatsApp exchange between James Forsyth and Lee Anderthal: JF Have you thought that through Lee? LA Course I haven’t – thinking is for wimps!’

    2. Well done on the technology upgrade! I’ve always got paper and pen beside mebut found less need to resort to it for anagrams in recent times. Still use it for those pesky Downs which need to be written out horizontally. P-E-E-T would be an example of that today.

  8. Thank you for the excellent blog, Cedric. I have always valued your comments and feedback.

  9. 4:00. Welcome to the blogging team Cedric. Nice blog – the first of many, I hope. Lovely crossword from Hurley for your first to blog. I have 2 ticks on my copy for 11A and 5D and, on reflection, I can see that 11A can be considered an &lit with whole clue being both definition and wordplay. Furthermore the whole clue for 5D could be read as the definition, making it, I think, a semi&lit, with “Being this” the only words not part of the wordplay. Great clues. Thank-you Hurley and Cedric.

  10. I agree with Johninterred regarding 5D, and it’s COD for me. And what a first class debut blog from Cedric – thank you, and here’s to many more. And thank you Hurley for an excellent – and very accessible – puzzle.

    TIME 4:56

  11. Enjoyed this and blog.
    All actors in show. Alternatively star? Castor
    An alternative parsing?

    1. Yes indeed, and completely passed me by. At my level of crossword solving, finding one parsing is often hard enough and if I do I quit there and don’t go looking for more!

  12. Welcome Cedric, an enjoyable blog of an enjoyable puzzle.

    All correct in 13.56 which is quicker than normal for me. I did not know PINATA but the wordplay was clear to me.


  13. Yay. All green in 22 mins. Much more fun for me than yesterday’s pile-up.
    Great blog, Lord Statherby. Thanks!

  14. Lovely comprehensive blog from Cedric. Well done that man 👏

    12:05 on a Hurley that reminded me of why I really enjoyed his QCs in 2022. That was my first full year and I managed only 15SCC escapes of which five were attributed to him. Somehow in 2023, he seem to get more complicated. But, as I wrote yesterday, I believe most of the setters have dialled it back in the last few months.

    This one I fairly flew through. I enjoyed the simplicity of TROLL and was slightly amazed when SEABED appeared having put the ABED in and then added the SE. Today the anagrams happily unravelled themselves with only CARNIVORE needing to be crossed off.

    Had a nice scattering of answers on my first pass through and by the 7-8min mark was left with only CONFETTI, AVERAGE, LAUD and PRETEXT (LOI) to do. I was slightly held up by having put ELBa for the river as that’s how I thought it’s spelled even though I couldn’t parse where the A came from 🤦‍♂️ If I have a particular downfall in the QC these days it’s NHOs and that’s sort of today’s but I got there.

    Have a good weekend everybody 👍

    (Made a deliberate effort to slow my recovery run down today as feeling some CNS fatigue – gives me a combined QC5K of 38:18)

    1. So you ‘slowed down’ to a 26:13 Parkrun? That’s some going and still knocks my pb into a cocked hat!

      1. I was trying not to say it explicitly but … 😬

        I run every day and have done for the past decade or so – fitness builds over time especially when you throw in some faster sessions.

        Good on you for volunteering. I used to like scanning and giving out finish tokens best; you meet a lot of people that way.

        Enjoy your 5-miles tonight 👍 I hope to read a full report on Monday!

    2. Good score. 41 minutes combined for me, which might be a PB. That said we’ve only had the opportunity to complete the Saturday double for a few weeks now.

      1. Thank-you. Well done on your sub-10 ⚡ as well as getting out to parkrun on a late January day. It was somewhat frosty down here on the south coast. My time is just from the local roads when I went out mid-morning rather than an official parkrun.

      1. Thanks CO. You weren’t too shabby yourself ⚡

        Sadly (for me) you are forging ahead in our mini-comp – clean sweeps for you over the past two weeks bring the score to 20up with 290 to play. At this rate, I may petition The Committee to make the 5K time worth seven marks each week …

            1. 😊 Although I’m trying to visualise picking up and moving a chess piece with my boxing glove on- oops, knocked over my king!

              1. I think they box for two minutes, then play some chess moves, then box for another two minutes, then play chess … until someone achieves a KO or a checkmate. Brutal!

  15. I thought this was a really excellent blog, ideal for new solvers as it explains things so clearly. Thank you and welcome Cedric. Very enjoyable puzzle too. A rare under 15 minutes for me. Must stop being sedentary and go for my walk.

  16. 14:12 But with one red square, misspelling of SEDaNTARY.

    Some tough old clues in there, was not sure about CONFETTI, as the “its” is doing double duty, needed in the anagram and the definition. This means that its probably a clever &lit, a great clue.

    CASTOR was surprising, but one of the stars I know how to find.

    Welcome, Cedric, this is your first one, then you’re a natural. A reminder for other commentators, John is always looking for the next blogger, drop him a line if you’d like a chance.

    1. It’s Vinyl who manages the blogging rota. You can reach him (and me) as admins for the site by sending a message via “Contact Us” under the Help menu.

  17. Welcome, Cedric. A pretty straightforward offering from Hurley, except for PINATA – NHO, but gettable from the cluing. COD – CONFETTI.

    1. I guess you’re not a fan of Dora the Explorer? The Big Piñata episode was kids TV at it’s absolute finest.

  18. 4:33

    Very quick solve – one answer dropping in after another – and yes, I enjoyed CONFETTI and SEDENTARY as well for the double-duties in both clues.

    Very much enjoyed your first blog Cedric and am looking forward to many more of your offerings in the future!

  19. Welcome Cedric. I have generally followed your mindset to reach the same result, albeit in twice the time, as I stroll into the SCC for a relaxing coffee and toast. I enjoyed today’s Hurley which offered a good spread of setters’ art without too much devilness. No time to record as completed in an after dinner, pre breakfast overnighter as I wait for Florida sun to rise. Have a good weekend. I plan to catch fish for dinner. Sheepshead and Redfish preferred.

  20. First of all, well done Cedric for an excellent, informative blog. As for the puzzle, I thought this was a fine example, thankfully Nina free (😉 Felix), of the setters art. FO for field officer and Pinata were my only unknowns, but a struggle with the (now obvious) loi Confetti just nudged me into the SCC. I didn’t spot the anagrist, nor Hurley’s generous hint until after the pdm. A very neat clue, and hence my CoD. Invariant

  21. 12:37 (treaty of York determines the border between England and Scotland)

    Congratulations Cedric on an excellent blog.

    I initially had ACRE for 18a (it’s a place in the Old Testament, and a smaller plot than a hectare or a square mile) but the TYPHOON blew me back to the correct PLOT.

    L2I were CONFETTI and FOREHEAD. I took a while to dismiss BONEHEAD as an option.

  22. I thought this was going to be a breeze, so many obvious anagrams and other easy clues. But Confetti, Castor and Laud popped my arrogance.

    Great blog Cedric

  23. 9:24

    Given my target time of 20 minutes this was definitely on the easier side. A sub 10 is very rare for me. Nothing tricky but biffed TRIAL for 2dn which held me up until I saw FOREHEAD.

    PS Great first blog Cedric!

  24. Excellent blog Cedric, thank you. APE and UTOPIA were my first 2 in. A steady plod then saw me finish with CONFETTI in 9:12. Liked SEDENTARY. Thanks Hurley and Cedric.

  25. A rather faster than average 9:39. COD CONFETTI but SEDENTARY gives it a run for its money. Thank you, Hurley and Cedric.

  26. Though our puzzle was both testy and tetchy, I on the contrary ended this smooth solve in a mellow mood. Not so fast at 22:10 as I might wish, but anything under 30 is a win for me. I can almost always be found in the club but sometimes hiding under a seat from embarrassment.

    Great blogging Cedric! Thanks for the pleasant puzzle Hurley!

  27. 11:03 today, with a few delays on the way, although I’m not sure why – nothing was untoward. I biffed Acre too, which slowed me down in the SE, and CONFETTI took its time, but I really liked it once I twigged. Pretext however went straight in. I did wonder if we’d have a few comments on the rapid return of the corporation 😅
    I too am now going to get off the SETTEE, grab some outdoor GARB and become less SEDENTARY. More of a stroll than a hike though 🥾☕🍰
    FOI Utopia LOI and COD Confetti
    Thanks Hurley and thanks Cedric – a first class inaugural blog!

  28. 11.38 SEDENTARY and CONFETTI were both very nice, the latter taking me several minutes at the end. Thanks Cedric for the excellent blog and Hurley for the elegant diversion.

  29. Had to go out before solving LOI NHO PINATA. Could have been Pinsta, so ‘Dad is welcoming home’ would have been kinder than Dad’s.
    FOsI UTOPIA, TROLL, a good start, but though I finished I didn’t find it easy peasy.
    Liked CONFETTI, AUTUMN, AVERAGE, SEABED, LAP, among others.
    Carelessly put Testily at one point.
    Great blogging from Cedric!

  30. A lovely puzzle and excellent blog. Thanks to everyone who fought hard to get us a Saturday Quickie.

  31. I had Castor from (actors)* alternatively, so was perplexed as to what “All” and “in show” were doing in the clue!

  32. Thank you to Cedric for a very readable and informative blog, and to Hurley for a very pleasant 22 minutes!

  33. Quick – 8:06 and fun, rounded off by an excellent blog – seems you’re a natural – welcome!

  34. A gentle puzzle indicating the random selection of difficulty. Pretty well a write-in other than having to momentarily ponder Forehead/Pinata/Confetti.
    Well done Cedric on your first blog, and as a late in the day/evening solver I always look forward to your contributions.

  35. Top blogging, Cedric! Well done and here’s to many more.

    That was a fun romp for me, with huge enjoyment in particular of both SEDENTARY and CONFETTI (my COD). My eldest son is getting married in June and is a QC fan, so I’ve put the clue on the Wedmin WhatsApp group!

    All done in 06:13 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Cedric and Hurley.


  36. What an excellent debut blog, Cedric – you have set the bar high.

    Thanks for the kind remarks on the puzzle


  37. 16:10 here, a bit outside my target.

    Welcome Cedric, lovely blog. And a lovely puzzle. I was held up by the intersecting SEDENTARY, FOREHEAD and CONFETTI: those three took me the last six minutes.

    Thanks to Cedric and Hurley.

  38. I’m a day late as I was otherwise engaged yesterday. Still, perhaps someone will read this.

    UTOPIA and SEABED went straight in (almost), so a great start and I maintained momentum until about the six-to-go point. A potentially concerning phone call to Mrs Random then halted proceedings for a while and, whilst SEDENTARY and CONFETTI then went in quickly upon my return, I struggled with my last four.

    PIÑATA was a NHO, as was CASTOR. However, both were clued relatively kindly. LAUD and AVERAGE were just difficult, for me at least. Total time = 22 minutes, so a very good day.

    Congratulations on your promotion, Mr S. Excellent blogging, I must say!

    Many thanks to Hurley and Cedric.

  39. I’m also late to this. Welcome Cedric and thank you for the most informative blog. I do like the picture of your grandfather.
    I found Hurley’s puzzle very enjoyable and fairly straightforward until CONFETTI which I just could to see. Nice clue though.
    PIÑATA is another new word to add to the list of those that I carefully consign to memory and then forget after a week or so.

    1. Dear Mr V,
      Well done for remembering new words for a whole week. Regarding PIÑATA: I learnt it yesterday and can still remember that it is a word, but I have already forgotten what it means.
      Good luck this week!

  40. I have come to this belatedly (I keep forgetting a Saturday QC exists) but congrats Cedric, excellent blog and I look forward to many more. As for the puzzle, I struggled mightily with FOREHEAD, TETCHILY, PRETEXT and AVERAGE which dragged me from an ok time to 14.18. I was also thrown by CASTOR in that the answer was also an anagram of the key word actors, so thanks for sorting that out!

      1. Indeed it is online only. But you can print it off from the website if you prefer a pen-and-paper solve.

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