Quick Cryptic 777 by Hurley

A very enjoyable scramble to the finishing line, which took just a bit longer than usual. I had to leave many unfilled squares along the way, especially on the left of the grid and including 1ac! Were it not for the long anagrams and a few gimmies here and there providing checkers, I think I would have been struggling to unravel the harder clues (16ac, 6dn, 18dn for me).

Favourites include 13dn and 17ac.

Definitions underlined.

1 Suppress ultimately scathing report (4)
BANG – BAN (suppress) and last letter of (ultimately) scathinG.
4 America backing competitor importing Vermont’s No.1 relic (8)
SURVIVAL – reversal of (backing) US, with RIVAL (competitor) surrounding (importing) first letter (no.1) of Vermont.
8 Island group quiet, and for French, secure (8)
SHETLAND – SH (quiet), ET (and, in French) and LAND (secure).
9 Check about son’s underwear (4)
VEST – VET (check) surrounding (about) S (son).
10 This easy task in cold spell getting bravo for female (6)
BREEZE – fREEZE (cold spell), but with B (bravo) instead of F (female).
11 Trip to deliver money after expression of hesitation (6)
ERRAND – RAND (money, of South Africa) after ER (expression of hesitation).
12 Participate to one’s profit, ancient ghetto being redeveloped? (3,2,2,3,3)
GET IN ON THE ACT – anagram of (being redeveloped) ANCIENT GHETTO.
16 Merit in struggle to overcome resistance by trade union (6)
VIRTUE – VIE (struggle) surrounding (to overcome) R (resistance) and TU (trade union).
17 Where is crease, Ken enquired tactfully first of all: near this (6)
WICKET – first letters of (first of all) Where Is Crease Ken Enquired Tactfully. The definition is referring to the literal reading of the wordplay.
19 Twelve unchanged on reflection (4)
NOON – palindromic (unchanged on reversal).
20 Rage not, strangely, in NI Parliament (8)
STORMONT – STORM (rage) and an anagram of (strangely) NOT.
21 Clergyman, King, always close (8)
REVEREND – R (king), EVER (always) and END (close).
22 Opposed to European time frames (4)
ANTI – europeAN TIme hides (frames) this.
2 Detest a bore endlessly detaining husband (5)
ABHOR – A, with BORe (missing last letter, endlessly) surrounding (detaining) H (husband).
3 Get through using this code agent fashioned (2,3,8)
GO THE DISTANCE – anagram of (fashioned) THIS CODE AGENT.
4 Poor actor in South East — pity (5)
SHAME – HAM (poor actor) in SE (South East).
5 Looking most embarrassed about nasty deeds? Right (7)
REDDEST – RT (right, eg. Rt. Hon.) surrounding (about) an anagram of (nasty) DEEDS.
6 Mark on page — upside-down butterfly? (8,5)
INVERTED COMMA – INVERTED (upside-down) and COMMA (butterfly).
7 Some coarse nickname that’s toxic? (7)
ARSENIC – hidden in (some) coARSE NICkname.
10 Book on island, good, important (3)
BIG – B (book), I (island) and G (good).
13 Smashing iPods, extremely expensive incident (7)
EPISODE – anagram of (smashing) IPODS and outermost letters of (extremely) ExpensivE.
14 Manage poem in Old English (7)
OVERSEE – VERSE (open) in OE (Old English).
15 Shoddy stuff that he initially rejected (3)
TAT – ThAT with first letter of (initially) He left out (rejected).
17 Sought favour of English in golf club (5)
WOOED – E (english) in WOOD (golf club).
18 In mid-term on northern street see painter Max (5)
ERNST – middle letters of tERm (mid-term) on N (Northern) and ST (street). The definition is referring to the early 20th century artist Max Ernst.

28 comments on “Quick Cryptic 777 by Hurley”

  1. Another slowy. Top half especially troublesome. Some of the clues were quite wordy and at first I couldn’t make head or tail of them. FOI BIG LOI VIRTUE COD ANTI
  2. 6d was my LOI, as I’d forgotten the butterfly. I also had some trouble with SHETLAND, starting with ‘pour’ (for French) and going nowhere. ERNST shows up often in crosswords; it might have been worth dropping the ‘German’ from the clue. 5:50.
      1. Aha! The setter took my advice before I even gave it. I’m sorry, I meant ‘Max’; truly slipshod, even for me.
  3. I agree this was a little harder than some and I needed 14 minutes to complete it.

    I parsed 18ac as: Hidden [in mid-term] in {north}ERN ST{reet}

    I think yours is more probably the one intended by the setter, Will, but mine got me there anyway. I had wondered about having a second hidden answer (along with ARSENIC) but I don’t think it’s all that uncommon in a QC so I thought no more about it until reading the blog.

    1. I didn’t spot that one, it would be three as well because of anti in 22a.
  4. 32 minutes, I thought it was going to be much longer but a bit of biffing helped.

    Last few were a struggle, 1a bang as I penciled in s to start with, 4a survival I had VT for Vermont, 3d wasn’t helped by 1a, 5d I had deeds, re and R for right.

    Anyway pleased to finish in a speedy time for me.

    COD to 22a, nicely hidden in a succinct clue.

  5. I do it jointly with colleague and we probably took around the 40 mins?


    BIFD the comma…. now I know there is a butterfly. Yet more knowledge from doing crosswords.

    It made for an amusing lunch break.

    Edited at 2017-03-01 05:33 am (UTC)

  6. Inside my 15 minutes. I parsed 18 the same as Jackkt, as a hidden, and did wonder about the therefore redundant ‘mid-term on’. I think that this is more likely to be an accidental hidden, with Will’s parsing more likely right. I slowed myself down by originally entering GET IN TO THE ACT, but OVERSEE quickly eliminated that error.
  7. but soon got the drift and was over the line in 7.58.

    LOI ERNST with its two correct readings!


  8. On the harder side for me. Never heard of COMMA as a butterfly. COD WICKET. Enjoyed that. LOI VIRTUE. Overall thought it had some interesting challenges, so much enjoyed.
  9. Another tough day, didn’t break 30 mins. Working through across clues, couldn’t get a foothold at all. Some fine clues.

    LOI Survival, because was convinced it ended with AM (America Backing)

  10. 24 minutes today for a challenging puzzle. FOI was Shetland. It took me a while to decode the long anagrams at 3d and 12a. Not helped by finding 1a tricky. However I kept going steadily. Many good clues -favourite 14d.
    Ended up returning to 4a -I had Survival as the only possible answer; but did it mean Relic? I’m still a little unconvinced but it passed the test just. David
      1. Yes, exactly, and this definition of SURVIVAL from SOED confirms it:

        A thing that continues to exist after the cessation of something else, or of other things of the kind; a surviving remnant; spec. a surviving custom, observance, etc. E18.

        W. Haggard The man was a sort of dinosaur, a survival from another age.

        “Relic” would substitute perfectly for “survival” in the example given.

  11. I also found this a bit tougher than usual, taking 12:03. FOI was ABHOR and LOI SURVIVAL. I read 18 as Mid “tERm” on N ST, and didn’t spot the hidden. Nice puzzle. Thanks Hurley and William.
  12. Off the boil today and not helped by my inability to solve long anagrams. I find Hurley’s style quite tricky at the best of times, so this was another slow solve. Relic and survival doesn’t seem a perfect fit either. Invariant
  13. I might be being dense here, but can someone explain how bang means report? I don’t see the connection. This was my LOI. Gribb.
  14. BANG = REPORT held me up (strange version of the English language these setters use), but crossed the line in 33 mins.
  15. Not straightforward by any means but a lot easier than yesterday’s puzzle. Add me to the list of solvers who questioned the definition in my LOI, 4a. The cluing meant it couldn’t be anything else but it really didn’t feel right. Also took a while to figure out 8a and 5d. Completed in 18 minutes.
  16. Found this a real tease but got there eventually. Still working on yesterday’s and about halfway! FOI 12a. LOI 11a COD 4a. Found some of the cluing elaborate but maybe I’m just a bit slower today! Probably 75minutes over two sessions…
  17. 17a the setter might also have had in mind the England batsman Ken Barrington, who would certainly have taken careful note of the position of the crease!


  18. Missed REDDEST. Only got ARSENIC as I thought arse-nic would be a coarse nickname!

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