Quick Cryptic 2600 by Hurley


I think this is close to the ideal QC – not too difficult, and with a mixture of write-ins and clues that needed a bit more thought. An exactly on-par 6 minutes for me.

1 Cheerful substitute, good, honourable (10)
UPSTANDING – UP (cheerful) + STAND-IN + G
8 Inducement of vehicle? Nonsense (6)
CARROT – CAR + ROT. A reference to the carrot dangled in front of a donkey to get it to move, which to me suggests donkeys are idiots.
9 Usual practice of copper’s cat (6)
CUSTOM – CU (copper) + S + TOM (cat)
10 Queen’s manner when outsiders leave (4)
ANNE – MANNER minus the first and last letters
11 Slicer or musical instrument? Guy at party recalled nothing (8)
MANDOLIN – MAN (guy) + DO (party) + LIN (NIL backwards). I swear by my mandolin, which is super handy for  slicing potatoes for dauphinoise etc,  but I thought it had an ‘e’ on the end. Turns out both spellings are allowed.
12 Unfinished direction about Public Relations growth (6)
SPROUT – SOUT[H] outside of PR
14 Design trendy shelter (6)
INTENT – IN + TENT. Lovely example of misdirection using a less common meaning. Also proves Curarist’s First Law which is that the number one trick of crossword setters is to mess with parts of speech. ‘Design’ here is presented as a verb, but really it’s a noun.
16 Status of turbulent priest — extremely godlike? (8)
PRESTIGE – Anagram (‘turbulent’) of PRIEST + G[odlik]E. Momentarily considered biffing ‘decapitated’ for this.
18 Hope wife is home at the outset (4)
WISH – W + IS + H[ome]
20 Ultimately not mistake to see troublesome child (6)
21 What’s needed maybe to be mother? To pater, mostly silly (6)
TEAPOT – anagram (‘silly’) of TO PATE[R]. ‘Being mother’ is an old-fashioned phrase meaning ‘being the one who pours the tea for everyone’
22 Tardy in supporting round of applause (10)
2 Seafood not cooked at noon following pressure (5)
PRAWN -RAW + N after P
3 Weapon code, protective, partially backed (7)
TORPEDO – backwards hidden word
4 Biscuit enthusiast (3)
NUT – double definition. ‘Nut’ as in ginger nut.
5 Additional payment maybe in currency unit one has (9)
6 US soldier’s short time gadget (5)
GISMO -GI + S + MO. Another alternative spelling that I am distressed to find is permitted. I shall write to my MP.
7 Movement’s formal proposal (6)
MOTION – double definition
11 Powerful lady’s armchair repaired (about time!) (9)
MATRIARCH – anagram (‘repaired’) of ARMCHAIR + T
13 Package wrapped in Spar: Cellophane (6)
PARCEL – hidden word
15 Thaw? Opt to change route by river perhaps (7)
TOWPATH – anagram (‘to change’) of THAW OPT
17 Quiet massage for Hazel? (5)
SHRUB – SH (quiet) + RUB (massage). ‘Massage’ is ALWAYS ‘rub’. A masseur/euse is ALWAYS a ‘rubber’. Heed my words, O crossword novices.
19 Be a little romantic with server? (5)
SPOON – double definition, the first a slightly old-fashioned word for what we used to call ‘snogging’.
21 Stylevery large amount (3)
TON – double definition. Large amount is figurative, eg ‘I have a ton of work to do’

83 comments on “Quick Cryptic 2600 by Hurley”

  1. 16:14 here. Didn’t get NUT for biscuit, I’d forgotten Ginger Nuts after 30 years in the US, but put it in anyway because “fan” seemed a reasonable synonym for “nut”. Still don’t get “ton” for “style”: Bradford’s has it, but how does that work?

    Thanks to Curarist and Hurley.

    1. These two SOED entries may help:
      1 The fashion, the vogue; fashionableness, style. M18.
      2 Fashionable people collectively; the fashionable world. Treated as sing. or pl. M18.

      Somewhat of its time I feel but recently came back to popular consciousness in the TV series Bridgerton where ‘The ton’ was the talk of the town and just about the only thing that many of the characters cared about.

      1. I can remember ‘bon ton’ as meaning the fashionable set; I suppose it’s in Georgette Heyer.

      2. Oh, that’s interesting, I just assumed that it was just yet another part of the vocabulary of the 1930s. It’s rather nice to imagine my great-grandfather 90 years ago being outraged at the use of wildly outdated slang from the previous century.

    2. I wasn’t keen on NUT or TON. Biscuit for nut was a bit meh, and I seemed to recall from a recent QC that “tUn” can be a measure of capacity. So in not knowing the Style half of the def, it was a resigned press of the O key for LOI.

  2. 8 minutes. I wondered about ‘biscuit / NUT’ and the first dictionary I checked (SOED) insists that it only exists as the second element of a combination of words such as ‘ginger nut’ or ‘doughnut’ for a cake, but Chambers and Collins are less restrictive and allow it on its own.

  3. I DNF because I nho TEAPOT (in that sense) or BEHINDHAND

    Add my name to the ‘wtf is an s doing in Gizmo’ petition

    I enjoyed the rest. Ginger nuts are an excellent biscuit.

  4. SPOON ‘slightly old-fashioned’? Even my parents, long dead, would have found it passé. Pity ‘snog’ never caught on in the US. Do write your MP about GISMO, Curarist; and while you’re at it, ‘mic’. I was puzzled by MANDOLIN, which I just biffed, as I didn’t know the kitchen meaning. 7:13.

    1. Oh i didn’t know it meant kiss. Modern meaning of spoon is to hug from behind, like in bed, the way that spoons nestle.

      The big spoon is the person who is the hugger.

      1. In The Go-Between, L P Hartley’s classic tale of love and betrayal, the young narrator observes so much spooning among his elders that he uses the word on almost every page to encompass kissing, cuddling and various other romantic encounters.

      2. The big spoon?

        When I put spoons away I tend to put all the teaspoons together, tablespoons together etc.

        Are you implying they should be mixed up to have bigger ones and smaller together?!?

    2. ‘Spoon’ in this sense has probably survived the years because of its appearance in many popular love songs from the early to mid-20th century. It was handy for songwriters as a rhyme for other words associated with the same sort of thing, such as moon, June, croon.

      The best example I can think of off the top of my head is By The Light Of The Silvery Moon which dates from 1909. Here’s the opening verse:

      By the light of the silvery moon
      I want to spoon
      To my honey, I’ll croon love’s tune
      Honey moon, keep a-shinin’ in June
      Your silvery beams will bring love’s dreams
      We’ll be cuddlin’ soon
      By the silvery moon.

      The word ‘spoon’ appears 10 times in the full lyric.

  5. A lovely puzzle, and finished in a satisfying 16 minutes. I’d never heard of BEHINDHAND, or TON or SPOON (in those contexts) but they had to be. I tried to be clever and spent too long working on Becket as the ‘turbulent priest’ and couldn’t parse NUT either, but it was a very pleasant start to the day and means I can smugly join the rest of the class near the front following yesterday’s dismal performance.
    TEAPOT made me smile and I liked the double definition of MANDOLIN, even though I’d temporarily forgotten it was a culinary slicer.
    Thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

    1. I wasted a few seconds trying to recall the name of the turbulent priest; fortunately I couldn’t, and moved on.

  6. Needed to have 66.67% of the letters before I had the courage to go for TON and I’d had to work hard to get that N. BEHINDHAND rang only the vaguest bell once I’d worked out what was going on and I needed that to get to SPOON. If someone asked me to SPOON I’d be rather taken aback and then most surprised if they went in for a snog. Took a while to realise ‘to see’ was just padding in TERROR, I’d only got as far as TERR from “ultimately not mistake”. SPROUT was a high point in a good fun puzzle. All green in 17.

  7. I share other’s concerns over the spelling of GISMO and had NHO TON or SPOON (it means something very different today) in those contexts.
    Other than that no real issues. Started with UPSTANDING and finished with SPOON in an around average time of 8.39.
    Thanks to Curarist

  8. Enjoyable puzzle. I was also uncertain about NUT for biscuit – thanks for the explanations.

  9. All green in 21.55. I would have had a decent time were I not held up in the SE corner with BEHINDHAND, TON, SPOON and TEAPOT. However, I used no aids so am happy with the time, and to take a place in the SCC rather than be sent again to the DNF gulag.

    Happy Friday, all. 💜

  10. Like others neither TON nor SPOON made sense so I was pleased to finish.
    BEHINDHAND was tough but having B_H to start was a big help.
    Good finish to the week, although we now have a Saturday QC to enjoy.
    Thanks both.

  11. 10:23 (death of Llywelyn ap Seisyll, King of Gwynedd, Powys, and Deheubarth)

    I only knew the stylish TON from watching Bridgerton.
    I too had never seen GISMO spelled with an S.

    Thanks Curarist and Hurley

  12. 4:55. Some of the vocabulary is little old-fashioned in places, as others have noted. I only know of TON = fashion from crosswords. LOI Teapot. I can’t remember hearing the phrase for over 40 years, and even then it was used in jest. I’m another who was surprised NUT on its own could mean a biscuit. Nice puzzle, though. Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

    1. My mum always said ‘Shall I be mother?’ before pouring the tea and we have continued this tradition 😆

  13. Well, all my queries have already been flagged by others: how does Nut = biscuit, what is Ton doing as a synonym for style, why has Gizmo got an S in it, when was Spoon last used in that sense in real life?

    Other than that (as in “apart from that, Mrs Lincoln …”) I agree with our blogger that it was a very nicely pitched QC – 10½ minutes for me, would have been faster until closing out the SE corner (the teapot/ton pairing) held me up at the death.

    Many thanks Curarist for the blog

  14. Have to agree it was “perfectly pitched” and a “nice puzzle” ‘cos I did manage to finish it. And I would always spell it MANDOLIN (though NHO it as slicer). But golly, add my name to the petition against GISMO (hence LOI CUSTOM) – and NHO biscuit = NUT, or style = TON (just guessed both). Why is TORPEDO only “partially” backed, please? Seems to me it’s all there, just perfect.

    1. Well done Martinů

      Only partially extract some of “cODE PROTective” backwards to get a weapon

      1. Thank you – but I still don’t see it. Surely “some of” covers it? Extract *some of* “code protective” backwards, and you have it. “Partially” is superfluous.
        Ah! Now I see it – I was guilty of “not reading the question”. Sorry. Thanks.

        1. The clue as detailed above “Weapon code, protective, partially backed (7)”

          I added some words in my explanation to try and make it clearer

  15. 18:35 – the SE was looking somewhat bare until I unravelled TOWPATH and then TEAPOT. BEHINDHAND a word I would never have been able to define. SPOON – like Tina – thinking of it in the cuddling up in bed sense which is more than a little romantic!

    As noted above, not keen on NUT and TON; think the QC let itself down a bit here. On the other hand, I enjoyed CARROT and thought ANNE was clever!

    1hr41 for the week with a shot at the sub-2 tomorrow. But that includes a corrected DNF on yesterday’s Felix so still haven’t managed a clean sweep all year.

    Have a good weekend if you’re not back tomorrow 👍

  16. I enjoyed this so thanks Hurley and Curarist. I agree that biscuit is not enough for nut and I thought that style for ton was a bit obscure but they both had to be I suppose.

  17. DNF as I could not get TON despite having T_N. NHO ton in that sense of style. It seemed the obvious answer but I didn’t write it in as I doubted ton was a very large number either. A weight maybe? A MER from me for that one.

    I took SPOON to mean cuddle which is still a common use of the word and it was my COD.

    NUT seems fair for biscuit. Who hasn’t heard of a ginger nut?

    1. Ton is used figuratively for a large number of things, not necessarily a measure of weight. I have a ton of things to do later.

  18. Needed CCD for CARROT – oh dear. Then was able to solve NUT. Guessed TON from G. Heyer. We did not deign to watch Bridgerton😯.
    Quite difficult in parts. Liked UPSTANDING, once solved, BEHINDHAND, TEAPOT (PDM), CUSTOM, SPROUT.
    No problem with SPOON.
    FOI MANDOLIN. Yes, should be GIzMO.
    BEHINDHAND is a word I often use!
    Thanks vm, Curarist. I was a little disappointed not to finish as I’ve had a good run lately.

  19. I enjoyed this puzzle. I was at about 7 minutes with one clue to go, so my LOI was Teapot. Thanks for the explanation, I’ve never heard of the phrase. I stared at it for 3 minutes or so until I even worked out it was an anagram then once I had that it had to be TEAPOT, for which I had no explanation. So I put it in (is there a word like Biffed for “wrote in from parsing but no idea why it means that”? Maybe I WIPPed it in? as in Wrote In from Parsing?)

  20. Doing this on a train on the way to Manchester for the weekend. Pretty much par 22,52 for us. I’ve NHO behindhand either but Mrs RH biffed it straight away and gave me the “where were you dragged up” look when I questioned it. Feel a little redeemed by others here in same boat.

    Shall I be mother is used most weeks in our family so teapot a write in

    COD parcel, great surface, LOI upstanding held out for ages even with all the crossers

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist for the helpful rules for us newbies

  21. Completed this one in little over half hour with relative ease, though like others I did not like NUT = Biscuit.

    Ask Pumpa: 22a

    My verdict: 🙂
    Pumpa’s verdict: 🐱

  22. In Dr No, when Honey is offering to share her sleeping-bag with Bond and he hesitates, she says “If you’re thinking… I mean–you don’t have to make love to me… We could go to sleep back to front, you know, like spoons.”

    I bought a MANDOLIN in a fit of enthusiasm after watching too many cooking programmes. It has never been used.

    I really enjoyed this puzzle, which I thought had bon-TON. All done in 07:53 for 1.2K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Curarist. Add my signature to your letter!


  23. I agree with Curarist, I think this was bang on the money as a QC, neither too tricky or too easy. I nearly came a cropper however by biffing SWOON for 19dn, but fortunately returned to it to check the parsing and then corrected it. I crossed the line in 8.32 which I’m quite happy with, being a minute and a half under target.
    My total time for the week was 48.29, giving me a daily average of 9.42.

  24. For the second day running I had to use an aid to solve my penultimate clue, which then lead immediately to my LOI. The offending clue was 3dn, so yes I managed to miss a hidden yet again. In general I struggled with the top half of this puzzle, the bottom half proving more accomodating. I thought NUT was poor and ANNE barely cryptic. Also never heard of MANDOLIN as a kitchen implement and SPOON entered with a shrug. No problem with BEHINDHAND or TON.

    FOI – 12ac SPROUT
    LOI – DNF but would have been 1ac UPSTANDING
    COD – 11dn MATRIARCH. Also liked UPSTANDING

    Thanks to Hurley and Curarist

  25. A good crossword spoilt by NUT (should be followed by ‘maybe?’), TON (really?) and SPOON (Hurley’s just having a laugh with this one). I got them all, but each with a major eyebrow raise and a 51/49 guess over the SPOON/SwOON decision.

    Time = 20 minutes (very fast for me) but, because of the guesses, without much satisfaction.

    Thanks anyway to Hurley and of course to Curarist.

  26. 10.27, same quibbles about NUT but I’ve seen TON enough times before, isn’t it just a French word? I thought this was a nicely pitched QC, with some tricky clues like UPSTANDING and my LOI INCENTIVE. I did this ages ago so can’t remember much more about it, but thanks to Hurley and Curarist.

  27. 9:08

    Slowish for me considering the Quitch is currently 87 (suggesting a target time nearer to 7:30) – only four acrosses on the first pass and the downs weren’t that much better. Took too long to see UPSTANDING and BEHINDHAND. I only know of SPOON in the ‘modern’ sense…

    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

  28. 12 minutes for me; delayed a little by LOI PRESTIGE.
    I too had a big questionmark over NUT.
    TON fairly common in puzzles.
    Overall agree with comments above – a well-pitched QC.

  29. 12:07 I’d never known the kitchen meaning of MANDOLIN until my daughter phoned me and graphically described slicing her hand on one in the restaurant kitchen where she worked. GISMO? LOI UPSTANDING. COD BEHINDHAND( with honourable mention to SPROUT).

  30. Enjoyed this but DNF on behindhand which I’m not familiar with.

    As a relative newbie, I do love clues where you get a real sense of satisfaction from deciphering the wordplay and being able to write in. Custom was one of those for me today.

    1. Hello fellow relative newbie! I share that feeling and that particular clue was like that for me too.

  31. In agreeing with most of the above comments, I have to say that I found this some way below Hurley’s usual standard.

    TIME 4:24

  32. Just under 10 minutes. I queried NUT too but it seemed sort of OK and after the extensive vowel trawl seemed the only plausible answer. Otherwise same thoughts as others about the spelling of GISMO and MANDOLIN. I liked the not unrelated MATRIARCH and TEAPOT.

    Thanks to Curare and Hurley

  33. I enjoyed this: 12 minutes, which is probably a record for me. Held up by MOTION, TORPEDO and TON (never heard of this definition).

  34. My initial run through the across clues wasn’t very successful, and I thought this was going to be another struggle, but the downs were much more accommodating. It was then just a case of using the crossers to pick off the troublesome clues, with a dash of past experience for obscurities like Ton. Loi after 18mins was Upstanding, which ran Mandolin very close for CoD. A well-pitched and enjoyable QC after yesterday’s turgid stuff. Invariant

  35. DNF – just didn’t see TEAPOT at all. Not keen on BISCUIT = NUT or VERY LARGE AMOUNT = TON. The rest an enjoyable struggle.

  36. 8:16, so one of my better performances this week.
    I made a vegetable dauphinoise last night but decided against using the MANDOLIN – sometimes it’s easier just to use a knife, and definitely safer to wash up. There was CARROT in it, but not a single SPROUT! No problem with TON – we’ve seen it quite a bit, and yes, the ginger variety is one of the best, but I’m another who was surprised to NUT as a general term for biscuit.
    I’d write to my MP about gizmo (or indeed anything of importance) if I thought she’d actually reply. I hope she won’t be our MP by the end of the year.
    FOI Carrot LOI Behindhand
    Thanks Hurley and Curarist

    1. You could argue that there is a bit of kitchen theme going on with PRAWN, CARROT, SPROUT, NUT, MANDOLIN, TEAPOT, SPOON and how about a PRESTIGE pressure cooker!

      1. You could indeed!
        I was at a U3A meeting this afternon where we had ginger nuts with our cuppa!

  37. Much has been said already about the answers that gave me pause for thought. NUT went in incorrectly parsed… I thought it was either something to do with the saying ‘take the biscuit’ or perhaps the colour biscuit. TON was my LOI after a minor delay in solving SPOON and then TEAPOT. I didn’t know the style definition. Happily home in 6:51 for a red letter day.

  38. A top to bottom solve with UPSTANDING FOI, although I needed the crosser from BEHINDHAND before LOI, SPOON, went in. Eyebrows duly raised at NUT on its own as a biscuit. 5:50. Thanks Hurley and Curarist.

  39. As well as the kitchen theme we have:
    16a Status of turbulent priest — extremely godlike? (8)
    In yesterday’s Times was the obituary of Christopher Priest whose most famous book, which I happen to be reading at the moment, is The Prestige.

  40. Ginger biscuits always remind me of my childhood and can be called several things. How about- Break for a biscuit (4).
    As others I only knew the more contemporary use of spoon. A position where neither party need be awake 😘

  41. 11.42 The NW gave up nothing on the first pass but the rest was mostly straightforward. I’d forgotten ginger nuts and I’d never seen the fashion meaning of TON before but with the checkers they couldn’t have been anything else. Thanks Curarist and Hurley.

  42. 12:05 with LOI 1a resisting for too LONG, even with all the checkers. To my shame I knew TON from Bridgerton. Familiar also with ginger NUTs. Add me to the list of those who see something more than just a little romantic in SPOON, which went in with a raised eyebrow and set me wondering about another couple of answers. COD TEAPOT. A la jackkt, I have good reason to remember MANDOLIN!

  43. 21:42. I have nothing printable to write about GISMO or TON, but SPROUT was very enjoyable. I was delayed the most by INTENT, having assumed from “design” that I was looking for an anagram of “trendy”, and am now reasonably confident that there is no such anagram in English.

    Thank you for the blog!

  44. Hampered by use of phone. My fingers are not suited.

    Mostly fine. LOI UPSTANDING took a while to assemble.


  45. A bit better than par for me at 22:38, and an enjoyable solve. No problem with TON but actually resorted to looking up GIZMO before I could believe in GISMO. Learning experiences: NUT, TEAPOT. Thankful for the generous cluing of TORPEDO as I’m normally terrible at spotting these.

    Thanks Curarist and Hurley!

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