Quick Cryptic no. 87 by Hurley

This one should find plenty of finishers – most pretty easy but 3 or 4 clues have chewy wordplay. Lots went in by just spotting the definition which is nearly always at the front or back of the clue. I completed this in 11 minutes but am still mulling over why 14 ac is the answer (but it has to be) – when I get blogging I hope it will become apparent. Definitions underlined. There seems to be the usual link problem – here’s the puzzle http://feeds.thetimes.co.uk/timescrossword/20140708/206/
So here we go…

1 Group of companies against developing tourism (10)
CONSORTIUM – Against (CON) and an anagram (developing) of TOURISM.
8 Stop filming girl’s outdated weapon (7)
CUTLASS – Stop filming (CUT) girl (LASS)
9 Supporting Church power (5)
FORCE – Supporting (FOR) Church (CE).
10 Genuine religious teaching attracts a learner (4)
REAL – Religious teaching (RE) a (A) learner (L). The word attracts makes the sentence English and the RE could be said to draw AL to it to form a single word.
11 British and French fish – a large shopping? (8)
BETRAYAL – British (B) and in French (ET) fish (RAY) a (A) large (L – as in clothes sizes). Shopping as in selling down the river – just had to look that phrase up as I realise I don’t know it’s origin – it’s not pleasant but here you go: to abandon or desert; to turn one’s back on another; to delude or take advantage of. This expression originated in the Old South, where uncooperative slaves were often punished by being shipped downstream to the harsh, sweltering plantations of the lower Mississippi.
13 Topic monarch finds dull to begin with (6)
MATTER – Monarch (ER) dull (MATT) at the front (to begin with).
14 One-time rural dweller’s area becomes old (6)
FORMER – so here’s the one I couldn’t work out – One-time is the definition, Ah! Got it – rural dweller (FARMER) in which the area (A) is replaced by (becomes) old (O). A bit tricksy this one – but the definition was pretty clear – the word play made even more tricky by having ‘old’ in it (which also means former).
17 Eileen, getting disheartened, changed peignoir (8)
NEGLIGEE – Didn’t know the word peignoir – which maybe makes me sweetly innocent or sad! Made up from an anagram (changed) of EILEEN and GG which is ‘getting’ without the middle letters (disheartened).
19 Spurn cakes brought around (4)
SNUB – Cakes (BUNS) backwards (brought round). The ‘brought around’ can only apply to ‘cakes’ as it’s on that side of the clue so the definition has to be spurn.
21 Once more making a profit (5)
AGAIN – A (A) profit (GAIN).
22 Cover PM visiting Home Counties (7)
SHEATHE – PM (Ted HEATH) inside (visiting) Home Counties (SE – the South East).
23 Simple elm tree? Nay, complex! (10)
ELEMENTARY – Anagram (complex) of ELM TREE NAY (see, Watson?).

2 Reject unfashionable actors (7)
OUTCAST – Unfashionable (OUT) actors (CAST).
3 Senior citizen following second TV serial (4)
SOAP – Senior citizen (OAP) after (following) second (S).
4 Meat from zebra she recommended (6)
RASHER – In the clue (from) zebRA SHE Recommended.
5 Imply rigour on regular basis is of poor quality (8)
INFERIOR – Imply (INFER) and even letters of rIgOuR.
6 Dark spirit rising over Kentucky? (5)
MURKY – Dark spirit (RUM) upwards (rising) over Kentucky (KY).
7 Bleep a lord in broadcast? Very bad! (10)
DEPLORABLE – Anagram (broadcast) of BLEEP A LORD.
8 Male on island in breakfast food ritual (10)
CEREMONIAL – Male (M) on (ON) Island (I) inside breakfast food (CEREAL).
12 Challenging attitude of French man due to wed (8)
DEFIANCE – Of French (DE) man due to we’d (FIANCÉ).
15 Check car going around Northern Ireland (7)
MONITOR – Car (MOTOR – car ala Trotter family) around Northern Ireland (NI).
16 Tenant perhaps not so effusive after vacation (6)
LESSEE – Not so (LESS) EffusivE – with all the middle letters removed (vacation as in vacated).
18 Metal framework impressive, we hear (5)
GRATE – Sounds like (we hear) great = impressive.
20 Initially felt envious at the achievement (4)
FEAT – First letters of (initially) Felt Envious At The.

20 comments on “Quick Cryptic no. 87 by Hurley”

  1. 12 minutes. A good mix of clues here with 11ac as the stand-out for me. Be prepared for a pedants’ revolt with reference to 5dn as the idea that ‘imply’ and ‘infer’ can be substituted gets many people hot under the proverbial collar. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the argument, complaints should be addressed to the dictionary compilers not to Hurley, as Collins list the words as synonyms, as do Chambers who add “often condemned as misuse but generally accepted for over four centuries”.

    Chris you have a typo in 20dn.

    1. I think you deserve a medal, Jack, for hawk-eyed monitoring of the SNAFUs with the Quick Cryptic!
  2. An enjoyable puzzle, about 30 minutes with at least 5 on my last one in FORMER which I did not parse. Also failed to parse 17a and 16d. My favourite clue, by a long way, was BETRAYAL.
  3. will you please publish the URL because i can only get puzzle # 82


  4. I found a few of these definitely chewy;FORMER, for instance–I wonder if this sort of clue has appeared before in a quickie. I also took the ‘in broadcast’ of 7d as a homophone indicator at first. ‘Home counties’=SE another gimmick to keep in the back of one’s mind. Didn’t even notice the imply/infer, although that is one I’m a stickler about in my own usage (though I certainly do not presume to ‘correct’ anyone!). 6:50
  5. it’s not pedantry, it’s plain wrong. Read your fowler as modified in the 60s. Originally it didn’t even occur to him that there could be a confusion.
    1. I have no desire to fan the flames of argument but this piece by Stephen Fry on this subject is quite entertaining and thought provoking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E-aoXLZGY&feature=kp.&app=desktop

      As he eloquently argues, it depends upon the context, circumstance and convention of the usage. The OED, Complete Plain Words (Gowers) and Mind the Gaffe (Trask) are the references I trust on formal written English. In this context they are unanimous and agree with Anonymous. When writing formally, the words infer and imply have different meanings.

      To my mind crossword clues involve an interesting tension between precision of meaning and obscurity of synonyms but it isn’t formal writing. I wasn’t in the least offended by the use of infer to mean imply in this context and as usual learned something from the discussion about it.

      Nice blog Chris.

  6. Far from a straightforward solve for me. BETRAYAL, CEREMONIAL and FORMER all had me scratching my head for a while. And as for NEGLIGEE, got there in the end but was hit with the double whammy of not knowing peignoir and also got caught up on Eileen (rather than getting) being disheartened – the answer went in on a wing and a prayer.

    As soon as I saw INFERIOR, I thought that would cause a furore on this site (Jack, love “pedants revolt”!) Whilst (obviously) accepting the dictionary compilers’ position as presented by Jack, I must admit I’m spiritually aligned with Anon above. They are opposite sides of the coin…

    Thanks for a nice blog Chris.

  7. 5 mins and a pleasant change of pace after my struggle with today’s main puzzle. I agree that a few of the clues were quite chewy, and my LOI was FORMER after MONITOR.
  8. With SHEATHE 13mins; without- 9mins. Obviously I find Ted eminently forgettable. I also liked BETRAYAL and FORMER. Thanks for the blog, Chris. I liked your honesty in not knowing peignoir!
  9. Took me about 25-30 mins today. Had to look up the meaning of peignoir to get that one. Got 22 from the checkers and wouldn’t have had a clue from the cryptic bit. Thought parsing of 14A was a bit of a stretch
    1. I wouldn’t say it was a bit of a stretch, more a case of it being the type of replacement letter clue that is more common in the main puzzle. I can see why it would cause a problem for newer solvers because I used to be very slow to solve that type of clue, and the fact that it was my LOI suggests I still am.
      1. Fair point – and as you observe, I am at the “new” end of cross word solving, but having lots of fun ably supported by this blog which has made a huge difference to both my understanding and enjoyment of the puzzles.

  10. Look out for “for” with this meaning (substitute x letter for y letter). It has caught me out countless times.

    While on the subject of pesky prepositions, the letter “x” clued by “times” or “by” (referencing it’s mathematical sense) is another tricky one.

  11. Bulk of the crossword done but ‘betrayal’ and ‘sheathe’ completely stumped me. Ah well, there is always tomorrow.
  12. Yes, this was a hard one for me but I struggled on and with judicious use of the “solution” button I finished the puzzle online. I struggled particularly with BETRAYAL, FORMER, NEGLIGEE and CEREMONIAL which I was convinced had something to do with Christmas! And after all these years I’ve just learned that LESSEE has no “a”.
  13. Each time I contribute to this blog, I seem to be saying how much I’m enjoying them. So sorry for the repetition, but I am. As well, I’m beginning to wonder if these crosswords are aimed at people like me, who struggle to finish the main event, but have a fair understanding of the arcania of those puzzles. For example, while realising 14ac was almost certainly former, parsed the construction after a while. But that would be very difficult to someone who was unfamiliar with this type of clue.

    Sometime later today will have a go at big brother, and if Andy Borrows had a struggled with it, I may be in there for the long haul….

    Nigel from Surrey

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