Quick Cryptic 2514 by Hurley

A nice satisfying solve of moderate difficulty. I seemed to slow down a lot in the NE corner, but the rest was straightforward. Slightly over par 7 minutes for me.


1 Unusual stamina? Yes — at the beginning giving chief support (8)
MAINSTAY – anagram (‘unusual’) of STAMINA + Y for yes
5 Fail to include award, Italian (4)
OMIT – OM (Order of Merit) + IT (Italian)
8 Excellent drink with editor on periphery (5)
SUPER – SUP (drink) + E[dito]R
9 Sudden increase concealing company’s major trouble (7)
SCOURGE – SURGE with CO inserted
11 Referring to TV detective not so unrelenting (11)
13 Strongrooms having five defects: not the first (6)
14 Wife more healthy in ship (6)
16 Again transmit star race — bod excited (11)
REBROADCAST – anagram (‘excited’) of STAR RACE BOD
18 One lowering quality of beer ads unfortunately (7)
DEBASER – anagram (‘unfortunately’) of BEER ADS
19 Description of owl maybe cheers West New York (5)
TAWNY – TA (cheers) + W + NY
20 Guy on board survey vessel (4)
YVES – hidden word: surveY VESsel
21 Fancy riding or American football? (8)
GRIDIRON – anagram (‘fancy’) of RIDING OR. The name of the field on which American Football is played, which has come to mean the sport itself.
1 Potatoes, mother’s, hot initially (4)
2 I’m forward, urbane, not half talented — altogether unruffled! (13)
3 Tasty feature of rugby, seemingly good, first of tries welcomed (11)
SCRUMPTIOUS – SCRUM + PIOUS with T for tries inserted
4 Ridiculous? Anything but, suggesting University rag day at the outset! (6)
ABSURD – initial letters of Anything But Suggesting University Rag Day
6 Relaxed, mellow at retro defensive building (8,5)
MARTELLO TOWER – anagram (‘relaxed’) of MELLOW AT RETRO. A circular defensive building mainly used to keep the French out.
7 Value delightful surprise no end? Certainly (8)
10 Kindly media boss supporting golf tournament card (4-7)
OPEN-HEARTED – OPEN (golf tournament) + HEART (card) + ED (editor, i.e. media boss)
12 Familiar echo? Very, what diary regularly features (8)
EVERYDAY – E (echo, NATO alphabet) + VERY + DAY
15 One very much likes fuss over ace crowd-puller, last of all (6)
ADORER – ADO (fuss) + last letters of oveR acE crowd-pulleR
17 We hear that chap’s song in Church (4)
HYMN – sounds like ‘him’

80 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2514 by Hurley”

  1. I finished! 🎉 21:25

    FOI: Mainstay
    LOI: Open-hearted. I didn’t get the wordplay until the blog tbh

    I also NOH Martello Tower but the anagram/crossers helped. It was either that or Mortella Tower.

    Re: ADORER is the definition ‘one *who* very much likes’? It just seems so clunky when I read it. I wrote ADORED at first and only fixed it because GRIDIRON was a definite.

    Thank you for the blog!

  2. 12:24. I liked SCOURGE and SCRUMPTIOUS most. EVERYDAY took the most time. In James Joyce’s Ulysses Stephen Dedalus and his pal Buck Mulligan are living in a MARTELLO TOWER .

  3. I’ve been to that tower, in Sandycove. Apparently Joyce spent just one night in it. It’s a museum now but was shut when I was there. It was December and mad Dubliners were (briefly) plunging into the nearby Forty Foot where Buck dives in in the film. 7.54 for me, held up by YVES, EVERYDAY and WHALER. There were a lot of clever clues today from Hurley, I liked SCRUMPTIOUS and IMPERTURBABLE which was assembled like a railway train. Thanks to Curarist.

  4. 13:37 (1337 Edward, the Black Prince establishes the Duchy of Cornwall, becoming the first English Duke)

    Finally got a finish after a week of DNFs. Struggled to spell IMPERTURBABLE, still looks like it has too many syllables. Found HYMN hard.

    Not thrilled with the host of contrived words: DEBASER, REBROADCAST, ADORER. What next? One who can be repeatedly have torture stopped ? REDESCOURGEABLE?


    1. Unless you prefer Geoffrey of Monmouth’s fictitious history, in which case Dukes of Cornwall go back to the 12th century BC, including Corineus who wrestled with giants, and Gorlois whose wife Igerna was the mother of King Arthur (after Uther Pendragon seduced Igerna with the assistance of your namesake, who made a polyjuice potion to enable Uther to look like the Duke of Cornwall).

      1. Sounds like your average day in Cornwall…. ( and I am half Cornish but I don’t know which half)

  5. 10 minutes. A little slow to start but then it all fell into place.

    REBROADCAST is is commonplace language to my ear, although in these days of TV streaming and ‘on demand’ services I suppose it’s a concept that will eventually fade.

    ADORER doesn’t seem contrived either. The song My Adorer in the Fedora comes to mind.

    1. Adorer sounds exactly like it was made up especially to rhyme with fedora in that example!

  6. My wife is from Suffolk and she’s always going on about Martello Towers when we visit and the other GK was my sort of mid brow so I thrived – coming in a shade under 10. Had to follow the cryptic carefully to be confident in the spelling of IMPERTURBABLE. Good end to a tough week. Back home later today after a great break – big thumbs up to Copenhagen.

  7. Two in a row successfully finished for me so I’m on a bit of a roll. Around the 22 minute mark.
    I was slowed down a little having spelled SCRUMPTIOUS wrongly, which rather buggered up the SW corner for a while, but the rest was fairly straightforward. As for the two longies, I lived in Kent as a student so MARTELLO TOWER was a bit of a write-in for me and IMPERTURBABLE just leapt out, rather unusually.
    So a nice end to the week. Thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

  8. No real problems and met my target. Nice use of editor NOT being “ed” in my COD.

    TIME 4:44

  9. Steady going today.
    MAINSTAY went straight in followed by most of the NW but my hold ups came further down where I struggled with a couple of the anagrams – DEBASER and REBROADCAST – and EVERYDAY.
    Finished with the NHO (or more likely forgotten) MARTELLO in 8.20.
    Thanks to Curarist

  10. Thanks Curarist and Hurley. Managed a sub 10 by the skin of my teeth with many BIFD. Very much enjoyed the blog as a debrief to what for me was a rather hectic solve.
    Thought perhaps your 12a explanation might be enhanced by explicitly stating how diary gives day…? I know that when I started the QC a few years back this blog helped me immensely but occasionally I didn’t fully understand the parsing explanation, so I hope you don’t mind me pointing that out.
    Thank you once again

        1. Thanks for getting back. I was of course suggesting you change the blog to show your explicit parsing of DiArY and reflect my understanding of how the clue worked. Didn’t for a moment think you’d bifd that part! Glad (and faintly embarrassed😳 ) to be of use!

  11. Long anagrams slowed me, but despite that a nice end to a challenging week, all done and parsed in just under 10 minutes (why does my autotext suggest “months” here? I’m really not that slow).

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog, and a good weekend to all.

  12. hi guys, new here (english not my native language though)

    finished but struggled with
    Familiar echo? Very, what diary regularly features (8)
    EVERYDAY – E (echo, NATO alphabet) + VERY + DAY

    Didn’t like how to get VERY, and thought that the final “day” was regualrly – ie. alternate letters” from DiArY. Was helpd by the other definitions but wasnt sure about it.

    My COD was Gridiron, but that s only because I like American Football 🙂

    1. Huge welcome, in whatever language you’d prefer. And great work on EVERYDAY: I think most of us took the DAY part as a rather weak cryptic hint: a diary has lots of other things in it, but you’ve made sense of the “regularly” and I think you right. You can come again!

    2. I’m very impressed that people can solve cryptic clues in a second language. I agree with the parsing of EVERYDAY.

    3. Welcome! I’ve been reading and writing and immersed in English my whole life and I struggle. I’m so impressed!

  13. Another one at the harder end of the scale for me, borne out by my personal Quitch scores. At least I have some today, being all green for only the second time this week.

    EVERYDAY went in last, grist for MARTELLO had to be written out and dredged from memory. Struggled to spell IMPERTURBABLE, but went back to the wordplay.


  14. Enjoyable, and very quick.
    All the long ones sprang to mind straight away for a change.
    Biffed GRIDIRON but don’t know what it means. (Later – oh yes, I remember it is a grate or grill, so presumably the American football pitch is marked like a grate.)
    Liked SCRUMPTIOUS, WHALER, MAINSTAY, among others.
    Thanks vm, Curarist.

      1. In Australia we call Australian Rules Football ‘football’, regular football ‘soccer’, and the other codes Rugby league/union and Gridiron

  15. Slowish on this one, particularly trying to work out where the HEART came from (clubs himself with a diamond-edged spade for being dense), and how GRIDIR meant fancy. Hardly dare progress to Bigger Brother now.

  16. 9:06 (Hill of Belief meeting in Scone)

    I enjoyed this puzzle. LOI was OPEN HEARTED. I spotted the HEART before I remembered the name of the golf tournament.

    The Martello tower in Felixstowe is the one I am most familiar with.

    Thanks Curarist and Hurley

  17. No real hold-ups, a few biffs and done in 9 minutes. I would struggle to go much faster.
    LOI TREASURE not fully parsed. Biffed ADORES but Gridiron sorted that out, once I’d rethought.
    A good QC .

  18. FOI MASH and then MAINSTAY, so a swift start, but then I slowed down spending a little time constructing clues like IMPERTURBABLE and struggling to spell SCRUMPTIOUS. LOI YVES in 8:28 for a good day.

  19. 15 minutes exactly, so did I not quite make target, or barely make it? I still think it can’t be both! YVES was last one in, never met one, but obviously knew him from early French lessons when he and his mate Emile were always finding his aunt’s pen or something. I liked a lot here, although I am not sure how LESS = NOT SO. Not so much, certainly, but not so not so. With WHALER, MAINSTAY and TREASURE I was reminded of Long John Silver. Thanks both.

    1. Yves Saint Laurent is perhaps the best known Yves to those who like their stuff?

  20. Struggled with this and eventually finished with a double DNF, the first for not being able to spell IMPERTURBABLE (I put a U instead of the first E even though I couldn’t parse it) and the second because I’d never heard of MARTELLO TOWER and went for MORTELLA instead. For me, one of the most frustrating things a setter can do is clue an obscure word with an anagram, so Hurley is in my bad books right now. I’m almost glad I made the other mistake so it doesn’t matter. It would only have been a 33:28 solve anyway, so no great loss.

    1. I have come to realise that setters can do many frustrating things, but I agree that the one you highlight is moreorless top of the list. It changes the puzzle from being a cryptic challenge to a GK test.

    2. I think a genuine nho conflict like Mortella / Martello would qualify for a Google check, and just take the time penalty

  21. Thanks goodness for an accessible QC, all done in 30 minutes for my first unaided finish of the week.
    The long answers can be challenging but once you get them they provide lots of crossers.
    Thanks Curarist for explaining the parsing of ADORER and Heart for Card.
    COD – YVES. Hurley did well to find a word to fit in here and came up with a nice hidden clue.

  22. Not all that straightforward getting slightly bogged down in the sw corner. I eventually crossed the line in 11.00 exactly a minute over target, but my mitigating circumstances are that two of my grandchildren are staying with us, and concentration definitely suffers when you are in their vicinity. My LOI was one of the most straightforward in a way, in that YVES was in plain sight, but at the same time it being tricky to spot.
    I only had one puzzle under target this week (Wednesdays) and finished with a total time of 54.21, giving a daily average of 10.52. I think considering the difficulty of this weeks puzzles this wasn’t too shabby!

  23. 5 consecutive SCC days – think I get a free coffee for that. Steady solve, no particular problems. Enjoyed working through the long answers, particularly IMPERTURBABLE.

      1. If he doesn’t recognise me after 5 days there in a row, it’s time for a new doorman…

  24. All done in 26 minutes, although I struggled a bit in the NE corner at the end. SCOURGE, TREASURE, MARTELLO and the LESS bit of 11a added several minutes to my time. Still, after three tortuous days I am not complaining.

    I am an ADORER of words like SCRUMPTIOUS, so 3d gets my vote for CoD. IMPERTURBABLE required careful spelling – I’m not sure I’d have got it right without the checkers – and WHALER was a bit of a surprise when it appeared.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

  25. My love/hate relationship with long anagrams continues, but this time the hat was firmly in place and they helped open up the grid early on. A very satisfying 17min solve, which should have been a tad quicker considering that Absurd (!) and Yves were my last pair. CoD to 2d, Imperturbable, for having a clue nearly as convoluted as the answer. Invariant

  26. I was on wavelength for that, though I didn’t think I would be after failing on SUPER, SCOURGE and WHALER as I was going through the acrosses. However, today I managed to move on quickly and everything else went straight in, so those were my last three and by then all had lots of checkers.

    A witty and enjoyable puzzle. COD to SUPER, for using ER instead of ED from editor – fooled me!

    All done in 06:27 for an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Curarist.


  27. Very enjoyable crossword. Only 20a beat me. My French lessons (a very long time ago) were based on some idiot named Emile and his friend Marcel. Is there a fashion designer named Yves?

  28. Another who struggled to see YVES, my LOI. I had a friend at school called Yves (half-French) but that was a very long time ago 😆 Otherwise this seemed far less challenging than of late. Minor hold-ups with EVERYDAY, MARTELLO TOWER and WHALER. Liked IMPERTURBABLE purely for the challenge of getting the spelling right, and VAULTS for the surface. Thanks to Hurley and Curarist. On the gentler side today I thought.

  29. Just inside SCC cut-off so happy with that. Did this at work with background noise, so doubly pleased with the time. Might have been really quick under normal conditions.

    Thanks for the great blog.

    I hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend.

    1. I think I saw you accelerating off into the distance with flames flaring out of the exhaust. Well done!

  30. 21 mins…

    I needed a deep breath for some of those vertical long clues, but eventually they came once I had a number of checkers. In particular, 2dn “Imperturbable” needed careful writing down to ensure “u’s” weren’t inserted where “e’s” should be and vice versa.

    A good, challenging puzzle I thought. The “Martello Tower” is a popular clue in crossword land and one of those you just pick up after you’ve done quite a few. I also found the SW corner challenging, with 12dn “Everyday” more straight forward than I initially thought, and 20ac “Yves” nicely hidden.

    FOI – 1dn “Mash”
    LOI – 5ac “Omit”
    COD – 2dn “Imperturbable” – a lot to unpack, but worth it.

    Thanks as usual!

  31. 5:32

    Nothing scary here – though didn’t compute card = HEART until post-completion.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  32. About 30 mins. 15 mins on train to London and 15 mins back with lots of refingering due to swaying and lurching but at least there didn’t appear to be pot holes. Somewhat quaint since my excursion was motivated by a desire to look at pots.
    In lieu of my usual coffee in the club I settled for a poor platform substitute. Off to US tomorrow with my puzzle book at hand.
    Thanks Curarist and Hurley

  33. 6.05

    Liked it though agree that not knowing the tower gk would be a significant hindrance.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  34. Hit target 25. 10 of which was reading the clues. Bit like watching Mastermind when I think- just ask the bloody question. Or a Delia Smith recipe. Patience is not one of my virtues. J

  35. 9.59 A nice puzzle to end my worst week, taking 131 minutes in total. YVES was last one in. Looking forward to next week.

  36. Looked harder than it proved to be, with the long words taking some working out. Didn’t like ADORER much, however.

  37. 11:40, only missed the parsing of “card” meaning HEART, which is obvious in retrospect but escaped me totally at the time.

    COD to IMPERTURBABLE, for the way the wordplay defined the spelling.

    Thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

  38. Tricky one for me, but I finally finished in just under 40 minutes. I think I got a bit lucky with the NHO MARTELLO, but I’m just happy to avoid a DNF. And please add me to the list of people who aren’t fans of weird agent nouns.

    Thank you Curarist and Hurley!

  39. 22:03

    Fairly straightforward but really got stuck in the bottom left corner with EVERYDAY and over 6 minutes on LOI YVES!

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