Quick Cryptic 2214 by Hurley

I enjoyed this. It’s fairly straightforward, but introduces some devices that are marginal for a QC, so beginners may struggle. A bang-on-target 8 minutes for me.

7 Rule, new, for grassy area (4)
8 Manxman, eg, I defame in speech? (8)
ISLANDER – I + SLANDER. Old chestnut
9 Sound of birds warbling outside hotel that’s exciting (6)
THRILL – TRILL outside H
10 Tolerating delay saying goodbye to island, that’s clear (6)
PATENT – PATIENT minus I for island
11 Many old assault threats initially — prevented by this? (4)
MOAT – Initial letters of  Many Old Assault Threats
12 Hell! Limo hit pile of earth (8)
MOLEHILL – anagram (‘hit’) of HELL LIMO
15 Enthusiasm about Queen meeting cricketer? Exactly as stated (8)
17 Chloe rang regularly — a warning? (4)
HORN – alternate letters of cHlOe RaNg
18 Part of Attica then — some city! (6)
ATHENS – hidden word: atticA THEN Some
21 Grain crop — pressure to replace British — confer (6)
PARLEY – BARLEY, replacing B for British with P for Pressure
22 Doctor urges one to become willing to give (8)
GENEROUS – anagram (‘doctor’) of URGES ONE
23 In the end, will you miss much person drinking a lot? (4)
LUSH – last letters of wilL yoU misS mucH
1 Clothing hotel could supply in southwest city not right for Robert? (8)
2 Content to leave Eton, learner first to join up (6)
ENLIST – EN (ETON without its content) + L + IST
3 Embassy official’s qualification document ahead of time (8)
4 Brought up beer: a mistake (4)
SLIP – PILS backwards
5 Small part of Society? Of course (6)
SNATCH – S (society) + NATCH, annoying modern phrase meaning ‘naturally’
6 Extremely fickle sailors in plant (4)
FERN – FE (extremes of ‘fickle’) + RN (Royal Navy)
13 See with help of this US city politician linked with job? (8)
LAMPPOST – LA (city) + MP + POST
14 What might be supplied by the 22 — exotic lagers, South European (8)
LARGESSE – anagram (‘exotic’) of  LAGERS + SE
16 One producing beer outside of Renfrew in new way? (6)
BREWER – anagram (‘in a new way’) of BEER + RW (outside letters of RENFREW). The whole clue is the definition, which we call an ‘&lit’
17 Announce woman’s with a lord (6)
19 Section of account we excise as over-sentimental (4)
TWEE – hidden word: accounT WE Excise
20 Small auction item in assigned position (4)

79 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2214 by Hurley”

  1. Biffed a couple, including, embarrassingly enough, 18ac ATHENS, as well as PATENT, & BREWER, parsing post-submission. Also biffed LARGESSE before reading 22ac; I dislike cross-referencing clues in general, but especially when the reference is to a clue I haven’t looked at. Just under my 6′ goal at 5:58.

  2. 13 minutes making a run of 9 QC solves that I have failed to achieve my 10-minute target. I wasn’t totally convinced that 16dn counted as &lit but in order to avoid ‘beer’ being accused of doing double duty it has to be classified as such.

    1. Please could you expand on your comments on 4 down. I’m quite new to the rules about valid clues and I want to be sure I understand the issue. I was confused by how this clue worked.

      1. Steve, there is a convention rather than a hard and fast rule that in a classic style clue with definition and wordplay no word should perform two functions, one as wordplay and one as definition (or part of either) . The exception is the &lit category of clue which you will find defined here as the first entry in our Glossary https://timesforthetimes.co.uk/glossary .

        The Glossary is available under the Help Menu at the top of the TfTT home page and also in the side panel under Useful Links. It contains many other useful pieces of information.

        See also Semi &Lit further down the Glossary page.

      2. Sorry Steve, as pointed out below by Paanliv I had quoted the wrong clue number which should have been 16dn (now amended).

      1. Yes, 16dn. Thanks for pointing out my error now amended. I’m sure it’s intended as &lit or semi but whether it quite works seems to be open for discussion

  3. 10.05

    Finished, but didn’t spot some of the chestnuts straightaway so made a bit of heavy weather of it. Quite a lot of wordy clues plus the dreaded cross-reference so not my favourite style of clues but hey-ho, each to his/her own.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  4. The first 3 acrosses went straight in and I continued to make good progress, despite the unhelpful grid and some wordy clues, until I was left with PATENT/SNATCH crossers which needed a little thought. NHO of NATCH so my LOI went in with fingers crossed. Lots of satisfying PDMs today particularly with BATHROBE and LAMPPOST, which made for an enjoyable solve.
    Finished in 8.42 with COD to SLIP
    Thanks to Curarist

  5. Not the most straightforward of QCs for me. 2 of 4 before me have taken longer than normal.

    I noted that there were not that many anagrams, and all the clues seemed a bit wordy.

    Hard to pick a favourite, maybe my LOI PATENT, which elicited a penny drop moment.


  6. I found this on the tougher side at 19’+ with NATCH and PATENT last in. The former is a word that I’ve seen written as speech but I’ve never actually heard which is interesting (to me anyway) as if it’s slang/informal, it tends to be the other way round.

    I’m with those before me who are not fond of cross referencing clues.

    No particular COD although BATHROBE, which took me a while, is quite clever.

  7. 28 minutes determined to finish after yesterday’s DNF.
    FOI: LAWN.
    LOI: LUSH after seeing the device and dismissing LAST which I knew was wrong. This added 3 minutes.
    Favourites: VERBATIM and ENLIST.

  8. I thought that had some really clunky, awkward surfaces – 21a, 23a, 13d, and 10a barely make sense. And 8a may be a chestnut but it’s poorly clued, because “in speech” indicates a homophone but no one pronounces ISLANDER (“eye-lander”) as I SLANDER. And it’s an awful grid. So all in all I didn’t enjoy that much!

    FOI LAWN, LOI BATHROBE, COD SLIP, time 09:35 for 1.6K and a Disgruntled Day.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist.


    1. I thought the clue for ISLANDER was a nice bit of indirection. Slander is in speech like libel is in print.

  9. Another embarrassing DNF. Misread the PARLEY clue, so ended up with BARLEY in the grid, leading to the unlikely LAMPBASE.

    Trouble also in the NE where I was sure 10ac would end in ING, with a word like grating, siding, netting for “it’s clear”. Also couldn’t get away from beer=ale at 4d.

    Thought NATCH very obscure, it’s an odd word and hard to pin down exactly how it should be used. It’s a bit like (sic)?

  10. Couldn’t finish this one with three to go. Snatch was a very poor clue in my opinion. Disappointing week for me. Not impressed.

  11. And it is a disappointing week for me too. I think I have been a couple or so minutes over target every day this week. There were no particular hold-ups, just slow generally, and needed the word play to spell VERBATIM (I’d have gone for TUM at the end!). Not a lot more to say really but thanks both.

  12. An enjoyable solve and not as hard as earlier in the week, I believe (didn’t get to yesterday’s QC as elsewhere; probably just as well reading the blog). FOI – ISLANDER, liked BATHROBE, VERBATIM and LAMPPOST. Biffed GENEROUS, tried to get BENE at the start before I realised Doctor was an anagrind, nice deception. Mental blank on LAWN (perhaps because ours has been white for weeks) but PDM arrived. LOI – PATENT.
    Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

  13. I am another one who had NHO NATCH, so 5dn was my LOI, unparsed.

    Thanks Curarist for the explanation

  14. There seem to be a few moans about some of the clues that I feel are unjustified. I thought Hurley gave us an excellent puzzle and I for one enjoyed it.
    I started off quickly and then became slower the further into the crossword I went. I eventually finished a few seconds outside target at 10.12.
    MOLEHILL reminded me of a problem we had with the lawn to our rear garden. Much loved by moles until we unleashed our killer cat on them. He occasionally used to capture one and bring it indoors as a trophy, almost dislocating his jaw in transporting something that sizeable.

  15. Plodded steadily through to the finish, so an OK day. FOsI LAWN, DIPLOMAT, ISLANDER. LOI LAMPPOST (‘see with the help of this’ escaped me initially so biffed.) Also pondered about who the 22 might be but biffed LARGESSE. VERBATIM, yet another biff, was clever, also liked PARLEY, HERALD, PATENT and BATHROBE.
    Thanks vm for blog, Curarist.

  16. 12 minutes for me with LOI PATENT; I see several others also got this last. It was a tricky device as mentioned.
    COD to ENLIST in a puzzle which ranged from easy to tough.

  17. A poor end to a poor week, but at least I avoided any typos today. I positively loathe cross-referenced clues, and I agree with the points others have already raised. Simply not up to Hurley’s usual standard

    I took a good two minutes sorting out MOLEHILL (Nobody’s Fault But Mine as Led Zeppelin put it !) and then immediately saw my LOI.

    TIME 6:21

    1. For some unknown reason I slapped in HELLHOLE instead of MOLEHILL which caused a major standstill with LOI DIPLOMAT. I finally reached the inevitable conclusion that if there is no viable solution to a clue I have already made a mistake. As always, it took too long to see the error of my ways. However it has not dulled my few days of enjoyment in Antibes, although the much forecast stormy weather now appears to be coming to bear. Oh well, will just have to re-fill my glass and enjoy unmatched fare for the weekend ahead and my first outing from home since pre-Covid.
      Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  18. A quick start and then a steady slowdown but, at least, I avoided the SCC and ended a couple of mins over target. Some odd clues, as others have mentioned. I also got 14d without looking at the unfortunately cross-referenced 22. I biffed quite a few but did parse as I went along (apart from my LOI PATENT, in common with others above).
    Thanks both. Looking forward to a more approachable week beginning on Monday. This week has been a but of a shocker, all round. John M.

  19. Two sittings to round off a difficult week. Started this one quickly in the NW, but then I hit a wall around the half way mark. Didn’t help myself by thinking 22ac needed a six letter answer from (UrgesI)* Sorted out the mess eventually, but then had to stop when all I could think of was a nonsensical Flaw/Wating for my last pair. Returned after the requisite cup of tea and spotted Pils/Slip and hence Patent. MER at the use of -ing in the clue for the latter. Neither setter nor solver were on form today. Invariant

    1. I also ended up with the “nonsensical FLAW/WATING” pair. However, as I had already been slaving away for 79 minutes, I gave up – demoralised. I don’t think I would have found SLIP in another 79 minutes, as I don’t really regard Pils as beer.

  20. We enjoyed this- usually like Hurley. We imagine it’s famous actress Liz but might be wrong. Are any setters known to be female?

    1. I asked this question recently and Jack told me that none of the QC setters are women that he knows of.

        1. Well we had hopes of Margaret (of Bob and Margaret) but the Editor rather put the kibosh on that one long ago. One might ask why, if any of the setters are women, they would be concealing the fact.

          1. I can think of many reasons, much like why women authors often take on pseudonyms or initials.

  21. Finding QCs generally harder going these days. I tend to finish them but I’m often well into the SCC. Today was no exception and I finally struggled over the line in 29 mins. Last few in were SLIP, SNATCH, then PATENT. Biffed BATHROBE and ENLIST. Embarrassed to have struggled initially with LAWN! Liked VERBATIM. Many thanks all.

  22. DNF as the NE corner resisted me. Didn’t see Pils (should have), Patent (could have) or Snatch (would have perhaps if I’d got the other two, but by then was not in the mood to struggle further).

    Second DNF this week which is unusual for me and completes a pretty poor run – and from the comments today I’m not alone I think in finding recent fare both tougher and less enjoyable that usual. Some clues today were definitely more MER than COD, and as for the cross reference, well I solved Largesse and then used that to get Generous!

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all. Let us hope for better fare next week.

  23. Some dodgy items today -SNATCH, LUSH (don’t get PERSON DRINKING A LOT clue), LARGESSE (saw anagram, but what has the 22 got to do with it?). Pretty straightforward otherwise.

      1. I heartily agree with disliking cross referring clues, but in this case I was thrown by the inclusion of ‘the’. In my admittedly limited experience it is normal for a QC reference not to use the article – I might have spotted it if it had been ‘supplied by 22’.
        Happily there were so many clues I thought bad in this puzzle I just shrugged and biffed it from the checkers.

  24. Dnf…

    Had to take a couple of punts for 10ac and 23ac and they were both wrong. For 10ac I put “Pliant”, although I concede I couldn’t parse it, as a result I couldn’t get 5dn. For 23ac I toyed between Last and Lest – again, couldn’t parse them.

    Looked at the blog and saw “Natch” for naturally? Really? Literally never heard of that. Why don’t we start using “innit” as well then?

    FOI – 7ac “Lawn”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 2dn “Enlist – nice construction

    Thanks as usual!

      1. We all complain when old slang is used, so I guess I shouldn’t complain when newish slang is used as well.

        Even so – just saying “natch” makes me shiver with disgust.

        1. I’ve known, and even used, ‘natch’ for decades. I inferred from the number of comments and complaints here that it was an Americanism, but ODE makes no such indication, and several of its examples are British. Collins has it both as British and American.

  25. Started off with LAWN and made steady progress until BATHROBE and SNATCH eluded me for ages and ages. NHO natch=of course. 18:46, so just managed to elude the SCC! Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

  26. I enjoyed this puzzle, LOI was 22A as I spent too long thinking of a word that meant donate that began ME… My favourite was 2D- must keep remembering rt as well as r for right!
    Thanks Curarist and Hurley

  27. DNF! Why does a setter spoil a good puzzle by a non-word like NATCH? Otherwise enjoyed, and the main reason for DNF was that I was slow on other clues , otherwise would have entered SNATCH, which crossed my mind, unparsed.
    FOI LAWN, LOI THRILL, COD BATHROBE. Thanks, setter and blogger.

  28. First post! Kind of. I occasionally posted anonymously at the old site but that’s not an option here.

    I enjoyed this puzzle. 11 minutes is my best for a fortnight. As always, the blog is much appreciated and the use of colour in this one is very nice.

  29. Held up by PATENT and SNATCH (and being forced to speak to family) but entered LAMPPiST anyway. Must get a bigger phone for holiday solves.

  30. DNF, but then I never have. Reassured that several regular finishers DNF today. Will try again on Monday. Thank you for the very useful blog and comments.

    1. I only recently got my first finished puzzle and it was a glorious feeling — I hope you get yours soon! (I DNFed today too)

  31. 18:40. Had most trouble with VERBATIM as vim and bat failed to come to mind. Like Cedric S got LARGESSE first which made GENEROUS a forehead-slapper. For some reason took re and ew as outside of Renfrew which left br over. Needed blog to see simple beer plus r and w. I quite like natch as short for naturally. To me ,in speech,a monosyllable to convey the meaning of a four-syllable word is quite in keeping with how we form useful slang words. And also the ch which is pronounced in naturally but doesn’t appear in the written form is humorously nodded to by”natch”.

  32. 17:47. Slowish but fairly steady. FOI LAWN, LOI BATHROBE, after spending far too long convinced that the clue had something to do with Bristol. Then a classic PDM. Didn’t manage to parse BREWER. Thanks to setter & blogger.

  33. We also had trouble with natch and lush, showing our ages maybe. However we enjoyed the challenge and finished eventually with some help.

  34. I have found this quite a tough week with the QC. I usually manage to just about keep out of the SCC, but have taken up residence in the past few days.

  35. Came close to a finish but couldn’t quite manage it. I had not heard the term PILS before, only “pilsner.” Learn something new every day! (Like that drinking beer makes you a better puzzle solver, hahaha)

    I mixed up which should be the solution vs container for 9a so put in CHIRPS and spent way too long wondering if “Cirps!” is British slang for “That’s exciting!”

    I parsed 16d with “one producing” as the definition — not a common way of using the word but you could say a machine producing coffee is a coffee brewer, for instance.

    Some of the clues’ surfaces felt a bit clunky. But overall I had fun with this puzzle!

  36. Reminiscent of when I started these infernal QCs. I toiled away for 79 minutes, only to end up with a DNF (never got SLIP or PATENT), whilst Mrs Random breezed her way through in 28 minutes. Simply too difficult for me, I’m afraid.

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  37. I was expecting to come on here and see a lot of fast times today. I won’t say I found it easy, but I didn’t think it was that bad compared to some recent QCs. I would have been around 20 mins had I not stupidly wasted time on 5dn. Saw snatch but then discounted it as I forgot it could mean a short excerpt. Got back to it eventually and kicked myself. I haven’t been Hurley’s biggest fan in the past, but I thought today’s offering was fair.

    Thank you for a very helpful blog.

  38. DNF

    End to a miserable week for the QC with 4 uncompleted. Defeated by SLIP and PATENT today.

  39. Did this this morning. Thought I was going to have difficulty finishing because so much of the top half was blank after the first run through, but getting DIPLOMAT was the key to everything and I ended up finishing in 20:29, which I’m reasonably happy with given other people’s experiences. The Tory leadership race must have got to me as for some reason I assumed “the 22” in 14d was referring to the 1922 committee. COD to VERBATIM. Thanks all.

  40. Late comment…but I enjoyed this and managed to finish. Time – somewhere north of 25 minutes. LOI Snatch – I was familiar with natch, natch….but was surprised by its inclusion.
    Some long complex clues which seemed to take time unraveling.
    Not too happy with Brewer – it had to be, but using beer twice didn’t work for me..
    Otherwise a tough challenge but good to persevere with.
    Thanks all,

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