Quick Cryptic 546 by Hurley

Hurley has served up an excellent lesson in cryptic crosswording containing positioning instructions in the clues and plenty of standard abbreviations. The only unusual vocabulary is a religious movement which is gettable from the anagram. Having now blogged this I’m surprised at my 7 minutes 45 which is quick for me. I think the wavelength here may be familiarity with the abbreviations which do need to be learned to progress in crossword land. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.


1. Forwards – rugby players. FOR, charges (WARDS).
2. On-call – available for work. (ONC)e, ALL.
8. Autobahn – motorway. The first letters (initially) of all the other words in the clue.
9. Beef – complaint. BEE, following (F).
10. Cry – shout. Caught (C) near railways line (RY).
11. Collapse – break down. Firm (CO), learner (L as in L-plates), associated with (this is word filler in the clue simply meaning alongside), drop in standards (LAPSE).
13. Site – location. Homophone (it’s said) of SIGHT.
15. Meet – double definition.
17. Enticing – tempting. Dec(ENT), ICING.
19. Aim – target. R(A)c(I)s(M).
22. Rare – uncommon. Horse (MARE) – runs for miles means replace the M(miles) with R(runs).
23. Tactless – undiplomatic. Anagram (off) of CASTS LET.
24. Please – give satisfaction. Parking (P) by lake (L), facility (EASE).
25. Thundery – making noise. Ear(TH UNDER Y)our.


1. Antelope – swift runner. Stride (LOPE) following gambling stake (ANTE post Thanks to RichK – ante is a bet placed at poker).
2. Lawful – legal. Quarre(L), unpleasant (AWFUL).
3. Flap – panic. Female (F), friend (PAL) rising – upwards = LAP.
4. Reticent – not saying much. Anagram (refurbished) of CENTRE IT.
5. Abbeys – religious houses. Anagram (refurbished) of BY SEA with bishop (B) inside.
6. Dahl – children’s writer. Liberal (L), HAD upwards = DAH, earlier (first).
12. Premier – first showing. Anagram (in trouble) of EMPIRE over (on top of) RE.
14. Tantrism – Hindu movement – a movement within Hinduism combining magical and mystical elements and with sacred writings of its own. Anagram (changes) of TRANSMIT.
15. Tartan – clan wear. Something black (TAR) and brown (TAN).
18. Carpet – reprimand. Cases means the other words in the clue contain the answer. About means backwards. Priva(TE PRAC)tise.
20. Bash – party. In Cu(BA SH)indig.
21. Espy – catch sight of. Heartless (E)nemie(S) (P)ossibl(Y).

20 comments on “Quick Cryptic 546 by Hurley”

  1. Inside 15 mins, a record for me – this one seemed to just flow in a nice orderly circle starting in the NE corner.

    I biffed Carpet as didn’t know the ‘cases’ instruction, so thanks for that titbit.

    Hadn’t heard of tantrism (although tantric is familiar from Sting’s sex life!) and with checkers in was straightforward enough.

    I’m torn between 8a and 25a for COD.

    Thanks Hurley for a good variety of clue types at, apparently, just my wavelength and Chris for the blog.

  2. I liked this one, and as you said, it was a nice example of the setter’s art. ‘runs for miles’ was lovely, and exemplifies a trick that caught me out dozens of times (the ‘for’). (Probably still does sometimes.) 4:06.
  3. A welcome relief after the stresses and strains of today’s 15×15 which is not for the faint-hearted. 9 minutes for this, nearer 119 for the main one.
  4. Finished in 15 mins – I didn’t know the cases instruction either. Useful info, thank you.
    Am finding the main crossword almost impossible today!


    1. You and me and many others, Rita! It was my day to blog it so I got there in the end but it was a close thing. When you’ve finished or got as far as you can manage you may like to take at look at the blog and other comments. It can only get easier!
  5. A variety of clue types that made for an interesting and, in parts, quite challenging QC. Re Kevin’s comment on 22ac, letter substitute clues seem more common of late, but they can still catch me out as well. 7ac was my favourite today. Invariant
  6. 3 clues short for a DNF. Didn’t see the anagram for TANTRISM, but was pleased to see ‘runs for miles’ which is a great clue. Still don’t see why ‘cases’ indicates the answer is found reversed across two other words. But biffed it from checkers. No excuse for misses at 2d and 9a. l already had BEE, but F for ‘following’, what’s the reference for that one?
    1. Cases is used only as in ‘encases’ – to mean the other words hold the answer. ‘About’ is used to reverse the answer.
      F is following (page).
  7. Thanks for the parsing of carpet which I just couldn’t see!

    Minor comment on Ante – ante post is a bet struck a day or more before the event (before post, post being the starting post) and as such has nothing to do with stake. It’s more likely referencing an Ante in poker, your initial bet before the cards are dealt.


    1. The ante is also the stake you have to put up before you will be dealt a card in poker. Upping the ante means to raise the stakes to play.
  8. The anagram actually excludes the “s” of “it’s”.

    Me get have been better spelled in full? Or is it generally accepted?

    1. Thank you – blog updated. I think the clue stands nicely – ‘s indicating is.
  9. Didn’t get ESPY despite having the _SPY checkers. I correctly supposed it must be one of ASPY, ESPY, ISPY, OSPY, or USPY, but they all sound about as likely as each other in my universe, and I guessed wrong.

    Also missed CARPET/CORNER/CURLEW/CORKER/whatever it was. “About cases” didn’t bring to mind “hidden reversed in the previous two words”, but maybe I’m just not smart enough for this.

  10. As a newbie, i nearly gave up after findng the previous few very hard. Thankyou for this one, I feel renewed. However, I still struggle with identifying when an initial letter is used, unless it’s flagged up in the clue. Why, today, does caught mean c, miles mean m, r mean runs and l mean lake? I love these posts, they are so helpful.


    1. These are well used abbreviations in crossword land – so well used that they come naturally after a while. If you look at an online dictionary (I use Collins which is free) you’ll find them defined under common abbreviations.
  11. I flew through most of this and then came to a grinding halt at 18a ,my LOI. I guessed the answer for but couldn’t figure out why, after staring at it for an age in bemusement I thought I’d just check the blog, so thanks for the clarification chris.
    I really enjoyed the variety of clues and some of the surface readings today but my COD was 8a.
  12. This was a bit like my car journey today. Quick initial progress up the A3 and then stuck when I turned off ( having avoided the car-park M25).
    I had all the clues bar three in 12 minutes and got stuck behind 14d, 18d and 22a. I got them eventually and all parsed. At least another 30 minutes. A lot of containment clues today and most pretty easy I thought. David

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