Quick Cryptic 2564 by Hurley

I enjoyed this. Medium difficulty, some nice surfaces and a couple of good hidden words that I took a while to spot. On-par 6 minutes for me

1 Astute Kate maybe seen with daughter (6)
SHREWD – SHREW + D. Kate is the shrew in Shakespeare’s The Taming Thereof.
4 Protective cover of cab up for alteration after hours (6)
HUBCAP – anagram (‘for alteration’) of CAB UP after H for hours
8 Pacific kingdom not backing limits on Georgia (5)
TONGA – TON (‘not’ backwards) + G[eorgi]A
9 June, July maybe? I’m ready afresh (7)
MIDYEAR – anagram (‘afresh’) of  I’M READY
10 Page greeting character from Athens (3)
PHI – P + HI
11 Back, having managed Church, seeing obstacle to progress (9)
HINDRANCE – HIND (back) + RAN (managed) + CE (Church of England)
12 Wretched rag? No! A valued wool (6)
ANGORA – anagram (‘wretched’) of  RAG NO A
13 Resentful feeling after long walk, briefly good for time at start (6)
GRUDGE – TRUDGE with the T changed to G for good.
16 Instructed to include ultimately rough sandbank in triplicate? (9)
THREEFOLD -TOLD with H (last letter of ‘rough’) and REEF inserted.
18 Cut initially announced by English (3)
AXE – A[nnounced] + X (by) + E[nglish]
19 Paris or Rome? Excellent! (7)
CAPITAL – double definition
20 Happening at the outset, attractive feature of our times (5)
AFOOT – acronym. Or should I say backronym.
22 Literature no matter what? It could be repetitive (6)
23 Information linked to the German grammatical category (6)
GENDER – GEN (information) + DER (one of the forms of ‘the’ in German)
1 Matching collection in place for filming (3)
SET – double definition
2 Stood as candidate over ruler’s position (7)
RANKING – RAN (stood as candidate) + KING
3 Been changed with water, heat? Becoming this maybe (7-6)
WEATHER-BEATEN – anagram (‘changed’) of BEEN WATER HEAT
5 Unexpected turn — gear ad due to show student (13)
UNDERGRADUATE – anagram (‘unexpected’) of TURN GEAR AD DUE
6 Covered by article, a number with no record of offences (5)
CLEAN – hidden word
7 Press on agent after return, strict (9)
9 Turning up on regular basis, Kantism provides valuable material (4)
MINK – backwards alternate letters
10 Sensible pal welcoming Catholic who’s penned Act One (9)
PRACTICAL – ACT I inside RC (catholic) inside PAL
14 Figure involved in Media Monday (7)
DIAMOND – hidden word
15 Success — a learner’s tap-in maybe (4)
GOAL – GO (success, I suppose in the sense of ‘make a go of it’) + A + L
17 Referring to Kitty, put plant in new container (5)
21 Hill rubbish must be tipped (3)
TOR – ROT backwards

65 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2564 by Hurley”

  1. 18:57 today. I was terrible at seeing both hiddens and acronyms today! My LOI was AFOOT and when I finally saw it was an acronym I could do nothing but laugh at myself

    I didn’t spot CLEAN either

    I blame it on doing the crossword while lounging by the hotel pool. I could have a worse life.

  2. 11’15” and like Tina I was delayed by failing to see AFOOT.

    Looking back I don’t know why the rest hadn’t flown in but even REPOT took a while and looked wrong on entry, so maybe just off wavelength today.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  3. Seven on the first pass of acrosses on the way to all green in 16. Held up by GOAL where a clear definition helped me accept ‘go’ could equal ‘success’ and on HINDRANCE where I first tried ‘something RANCH’. Although it went in quickly from checkers I only got the ‘told’ part of THREEFOLD, I was miles away fom reef for sandbank – thanks Curarist!

  4. 11 minutes. No problems, but I think parsing GOAL may have accounted for the extra minute taking me over my former target of 10.

  5. Whomp! Back to normal again after yesterday.

    DNF after 27 minutes. Everything else slotted in okay before the SCC entry time, but I got totally breezeblocked by AFOOT. I guess the SCC refuses entry to DNFers, right? So I’m out on the pavement, in the rain.

    Maybe I can redeem myself tomorrow. I feel honoured to be around at the inauguration of the very first SQC! 🤗

  6. 16.16 today so comfortably a par. Like others AFOOT was LOI as was very slow to see the workings. Afoot always reminds me of Sherlock Holmes: “come Watson the game’s afoot”
    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

    1. Speaking of Sherlock, I’ve been enjoying the podcast “Sherlock and Co” – worth tracking down – new episodes Tuesdays, Blue Carbuncle last week, Cardbox this and next! So good I’ve promoted if from dog walks to commute.

      1. Thanks for the tip – I’ve been on the lookout for a good new podcast so will give it a go.

  7. Chewy in places and taken a smidge over target.
    Not being familiar with The Taming of… SHREWD went in with a shrug and looked forward to finding out the link from the blog. Like others it seems I took an age to spot the hidden for CLEAN and it gets my vote for COD as a result.
    Started with SET and finished with REPOT in 10.03.
    Thanks to Curarist

  8. 10 minutes for this enjoyable puzzle, with minor hold-ups parsing Goal (success and go not the most obvious pairing) and equating reef with sandbank (I originally thought that reef implies something rather more rocky, though I see from the dictionary that it can be sandy too).

    A wry smile at Weather-beaten as I look at two gaping holes in my garden fencing after Storm Henk.

    Many thanks to Curarist for the blog and a good weekend to all. With a Saturday QC to look forward to too.

  9. 09:38
    Started quickly but then slowed by a few tricky ones.
    LOI afoot, I had about initially.
    Liked persevere. COD Midyear.

  10. 6:15

    Bagged a slew of acrosses on the first pass which made the downs considerably easier. Still a little thought required for CLEAN (didn’t spot the hidden), GOAL and REPOT but nothing earth-shattering. Surprised that the Quitch is currently above 100…

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  11. I found this quite tricky, and it was a really well-pitched QC in my opinion.

    TIME 5:15

  12. 11:37 (death of Gruffudd ap Cynan, king of Gwynedd. Owain Gwynedd becomes king.)

    Slower than yesterday. I needed paper and pencil to work out WEATHER BEATEN. LOI was LITANY. COD to SHREWD. I’m another one who only knows AFOOT from Sherlock Holmes.

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  13. 14:39

    Splendid to see the CAPITAL DD. This very pun formed the title of the marvellous TV series Capital Floyd where our hero ventured around randomly selected European capitals for Channel 5 after the BBC had fallen out with him.

    Back to today’s puzzle. All straightforward but hesitated over AXE and LOI LITANY.

  14. I could not parse GOAL. LOI GENDER, being the last clue I looked at.
    Nothing held me up for ages but there were few gimmes and I needed 13 minutes; about average for me.
    A good QC; no particular clue stood out for me.

  15. One of those days where it just doesn’t click for me, writing out anagrist (WEATHER BEATEN, MIDYEAR), not seeing hiddens (CLEAN), missing initial letters (AFOOT – very nearly biffed ABOUT, but took extra time), lack of GK (SHREW). Therefore there’ll be an ugly red stain next to my name on QUITCH! I see I’m in good company though – similar personal NITCH and WITCH to mohn, albeit he finished in 2:51…

    I always feel how I imagine a hapless batsman facing Shane Warne on a turner would feel. Nothing is as expected, lots of groping for something that isn’t where you expect it to be. I can only hope Hurley isn’t sledging me at the other end. Still, I survived, and will be all the better when the medium pacers are back on. 🙂


    1. There doesn’t appear to be much consensus in the comments about the difficulty of this one, though we were clearly both not on the wavelength. I usually find Hurley to be quite a gentle setter but this seemed rather harder than his usual offerings – my trains of thought were on the wrong tracks for, among others, UNDERGRADUATE (thinking that the definition was at the other end of the clue), AFOOT (slow to spot the clue type), CLEAN (ditto), etc. Interestingly (?), the fastest genuine time currently on the leaderboard is aphis99 with 2m42s – I think it’s quite rare to have no-one under 2m30s, though there are some fast solvers yet to post a time for this one.

    2. Amusing 🙂 And exactly how I feel when I get one I struggle with (though not so much this one interestingly)

  16. I was pleased to finish all correct in 18 minutes as Hurley is a setter that I often struggle with. Couldn’t parse CLEAN, having totally overlooked the hidden, and didn’t stop to parse THREEFOLD as the crossers had made it obvious. No other obvious difficulties though – just a steady progress through the grid.

    FOI – 8ac TONGA
    LOI – 20ac AFOOT
    COD – 22ac LITANY with 10ac PHI a close second

    Thanks to Hurley and to Curarist

  17. Fairly gentle today I thought. Last two in were PERSEVERE (thought strict was the definition at first) and GRUDGE (wanted trek to fit in somewhere). THREEFOLD was tricky to parse. Remember seeing ‘Kiss me Kate’ (musical version) in the 80s with Toyah taking the role of Kate so no trouble with SHREWD. Many thanks Hurley and curarist. Looking forward to new Saturday QC.

  18. This offering by Hurley was right on the money as far as I’m concerned, neither too easy nor too hard. I finished a little outside of my target at 10.54, the extra minute or so caused by me having a brain malfunction and spelling PRACTICAL with an LE at the end. This left me looking at 22ac as E-T-N-, after staring at it blankly for about a minute I then found the error and quickly finished up.
    My total time for the week was 46.28 giving me a daily average of 9.18, nicely inside my target.

  19. For a Friday I found this to be easier than I had expected it to be.

    It was an odd QC as there were several clues that I quickly saw the answer for, but couldn’t see how part of the clue worked. An example was 1a; I had the D for daughter, but could not see how Kate was shrew, not having read the book.

    Time for a candy bar treat.

    No help from the cat required today.

  20. DNF, with an LITANY of errors. THREEFOLD, in fact.

    Put TRUDGE actually in as the answer, did not see X=by so thought ABE might be an unknown cut of meat, or shirt. I could imagine calling my Jermyn St man and asking for “five crisp white cotton shirts, abe cut, of course”. And finally, had RUNNING for RANKING.

    Slow on AFOOT. I’ll be joining Pi-C in the rain, looking at the still available seats in the SCC.

    1. I brought a large umbrella, some camp chairs, a stove, lots of red wine and some spices. Fancy some glühwein? Let’s make the SCCers envious! 😊

      1. I’m sure the SCC welcomes all those who don’t finish inside 20 mins, including those who don’t finish at all. At least I hope so, otherwise I’m outside under the umbrella with you, wrapped up in my dryrobe. Brainfade today exacerbated by attempting after dark, after drinks and distracted by other stuff. I’m definitely on for some gløgg, as my Norse friends would have it. Couldn’t place Kate (doh…), not AFOOT enough….

  21. 10:07. O me miserum! I got fixated on 3D being an anagram of “been water heat”, and WEATHER CENTRE didn’t work… and I couldn’t see LITANY, until after about 5 minutes the light finally dawned. Doh. Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

  22. 16:14. The two young ladies, KATE and KITTY, were very mischievous in representing themselves to us as SHREW and POT respectively! Didn’t know a reef could be a sandbank but now I’m wiser. LITANY was last in as I had trouble thinking of three letters to go with LIT.

  23. 7.00

    If my comparative times on today’s and yesterday’s are anything to go by I’m on the mend from the (not now so dreaded) lurgy.

    Did struggle to get going but sped up as the answers dropped in, though also didn’t see the clever hidden for CLEAN

    Liked HUBCAP

    Thanks Curarist and Hurley

  24. DNF. Maybe Kwikfit is not the ideal setting for brainwork, although one wd think it should have helped with HUBCAP.
    Felt smug about thinking of Kate the Shrew but pride comes before a fall, as my mother used to say. Also failed on LITANY and THREEFOLD, and PERSEVERE (might have got latter if I had done). Surely a sandbank is not the same as a reef?
    Oh well, on we go.
    Thanks for blog, Curarist.

    1. I thought so too but a reef can be coral, sand or rock I noted as I thumb the dictionary. .

  25. A bit over 11 minutes. I was mystified about CLEAN; interesting to hear I wasn’t the only one to fail to spot the “simple” hidden. I also wondered for a while why ‘tap-in maybe’ at 15d could be anything but GIMME, but it wasn’t (in two senses).

    Looking forward to tomorrow.

    Thanks to Curarist and Hurley

  26. Suffering with covid so times, finishes etc up the spout.

    Congrats to Templar for an excellent blog yesterday (only just seen).

    Back when health permits.🤧

    1. Collins for “figure”:

      “16. geometry
      any combination of points, lines, curves, or planes. A plane figure, such as a circle, encloses an area; a solid figure such as a sphere, encloses a volume”

  27. A very slow start, but Hubcap and Undergraduate helped to open up the RHS, and with a few crossers in place Weather Beaten did the same for the left of the grid. A Litany of several unsuccessful parsing attempts at Clean left me short of time for loi Persevere, but a timely change to the other end of the clue (there’s hope yet) gave me a skin of the teeth sub-20. CoD to 16ac Threefold, just ahead of the anything but clearly hidden at 6d. Invariant

  28. Almost as lovely as yesterday but had bridle (as in long bridlepath) instead of grudge. Biffed Clean as couldn’t see the hidden! As soon as I see the word ‘article’ I’m thinking of a or the etc. Had a MER at reef for sandbank but upon checking can see its perfectly acceptable. Enjoyable. Thanks Hurley and Curarist. Have a lovely weekend

  29. Dnf…

    Frustrating, as I only had 20ac to get after 20 mins – and just couldn’t see it. The rest went in steadily, although I totally misparsed 6dn “Clean” (I had “C”= covered, “Le” = article, on “an” = a number). Thought at the time that including a French article without referencing it was a bit cheeky.

    So many articles in The Times referring to Kate Middleton, that it was the first thing that came to mind on 1ac rather than the Shakespeare character.

    FOI – 1dn “Set”
    LOI – Dnf
    COD – 22ac “Litany”

    Thanks as usual – looking forward to tomorrow’s first Saturday cryptic.

    In addition, for those who are interested, some stats for 2023 (based on the 260 puzzles I believe were set)

    Completion Rate – 67% (a steady decline from 78% in Q1)
    Median Completion Time – 19.0 mins
    Mean Completion Time – 19.7 mins

    All times are based on puzzles actually completed correctly. Whilst these have remained fairly steady over the year, my completion rate has fallen from 78% in Q1 to 67% in Q4 (and for the whole year). Whilst I didn’t formally record stats in the previous year, I reckon I was completing around 75% to 80%, so there has been a definite drop off.

    Overall, I had 5 sub-10 minute finishes in the year, 3 of which were 7 mins. My most difficult setter was Myles. Of the 4 puzzles they’ve set, I’ve only completed 50% and they took an average of 28 mins (appreciate that’s a small sample). My easiest setter was Trelawney, with a completion rate of 77% and an average time of 13 mins. Best completion rates overall were with Oink, Breadman and Pedro (over 90%) and the worst with Myles, Izetti, Orpheus and Wurm who were 50% and under.

    Any thoughts, please let me know.

    1. Brilliant stats! I presume Joker sits mid table? I think I have subjective views on which setters I struggle with so have made new year’s resolution to log mine so will see how I get on and see if reality fits my assumptions.

      1. Funnily enough, Joker is around the middle. I have a completion rate of 75% with them and an average mean completion time of bang on 20 mins.

  30. I started off at a trot but soon got reined in, finishing at a slow walk with CLEAN and AFOOT bringing up the rear. Parsed everything as I went though. Just inside my target at 9:39. Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

  31. I found the acrosses harder than the downs and the right harder than the left, so had quite some mopping up to do after first pass at all clues. Fortunately the checkers were helpful and LOI HUBCAP fell at 08:04 for a regulation time but my first ever sub-Johninterred!!! Oh the excitement, I may have to have this stuffed and hung above the fireplace.

    I had no problem spotting CLEAN but endless issues over AFOOT … so obvious once you see it, grrrr. COD to GENDER, such a neat surface.

    Many thanks Hurley and curarist.


  32. 13.12 This was averagely difficult. I never did parse CLEAN and I really wasn’t sure about the last two in LITANY and GOAL. Just under the hour for the week so far but I’m going to have to improve greatly to hit my hour target with the Saturday QC included. Thanks Curarist and Hurley.

  33. Hard to know whether this was hard or easy as I seem to be changing from par=40 minutes to par=30 and did this one in 29+. I must be learning as I’m starting to have time and energy for quibbling with the solver in my head as I go (c’mon, is a “trudge” necessarily long? well, maybe, I conceded grudgingly.)

    Favorite today was LITANY, fun clue, came quickly to mind, as I sing compline once a week, hoping hopelessly for a short list of names every time.

  34. I found this not bad. I thought succes s was the definition for goal and the tap-in was to go. if this is wrong I still got it!

  35. An on par 13:43 though didn’t stop to parse THREEFOLD and add me to the list of those who didn’t see the hidden word for the evident from the crossers CLEAN. LOI AFOOT. Thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

  36. Trickier than yesterday and took us about 45 m to finish with one careless error at 2d. But glad to finish.

  37. A well-pitched puzzle, I thought. Solved steadily with everything falling gradually into place. Happy days! (Well, apart from the hacking cough.) Looking forward to tomorrow’s first Saturday QC.

  38. Got there in 31 minutes, although both AFOOT and LITANY put up stiff resistance at the end.

    I had no idea why Kate indicated SHREW, and I struggled to get past AbOuT and LaTeNt for 20a and 22a. Also, DIAMOND for figure and GO for success were difficult to accept.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

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