Times Quick Cryptic 1990 by Hurley

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Times Quick Cryptic 1990

Solving time: 10 minutes. One answer turned out to have a meaning I wasn’t aware of but other than that this seemed mostly straightforward. How did you fare?

As usual definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [anagrinds, containment, reversal and other indicators in square ones]. I usually omit all reference to positional indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Strong cord from California that gaffer uses temporarily at first (6)
CA (California), T{hat} + G{affer} + U{ses} + T{emporarily} [at first]. No cats are harmed in the making of this product as it comes from intestines of sheep, horses or asses.
4 Friend coming back with excellent computer (6)
PAL (friend) reversed [coming back], TOP (excellent)
8 Cheese fine initially, but not long (5)
BRIE (cheese), F{ine} [initially]
9 Thick soup’s a new starter in this country building (7)
‘Pottage’ (thick soup) becomes COTTAGE when it has a new starter. In Scotland ‘pottage’ can be an alternative name for porridge.
10 When ultimately stuck, make request (3)
AS (when), {stuc}K [ultimately]
11 At sea? Right! (9)
Barely cryptic
12 Postscript about Greek letter used wrong way round in dialect (6)
PS (postscript), containing [about] IOTA (Greek letter) reversed [used wrong way round]
13 Usual thing — article describing conquest (6)
NORM (usual thing), AN (article). 1066 and all that.
16 One with anecdotes and race to run in medley? (9)
Anagram [in medley] of RACE TO RUN
18 Peculiar   spirit (3)
Two meanings
19 Succeed in returning debt and retire here? (4,3)
WIN (succeed) contained by [in] DEBT reversed [returning]
20 Former   community superior (5)
Two meanings
22 One claiming to predict future meeting editor? Get very angry (3,3)
SEER (one claiming to predict future), ED (editor)
23 From nation in South, rainy? Wrong! (6)
S (South), anagram [wrong] of RAINY
1 In America bought vehicle having a particular purpose (3)
Hidden [in ] {Ameri}CA B{ought}. Rather an odd extended definition!
2 Note about skating area over time seen as worthless item (7)
TE (note) containing [about] RINK (skating area), T (time)
3 Not possible to make out? (13)
Not a definition I’d ever have thought of, but SOED has:  Impossible to fashion or shape. It’s hardly cryptic so I wanted it to be a double definition to allow another way to the answer but if that was the intention I can’t see it. Edit: Thanks to vinyl1 for pointing out that it is, after all, a dd. Hardly a week goes by without ‘in / fashionable’ turning up so I should have spotted ‘out’ defining the antonym.
5 My story of a guy with poor habit being reformed (13)
Anagram [reformed] of A GUY POOR HABIT
6 Headdress seen in Tahiti, a rarity (5)
Hidden [seen] in {Tahi}TI A RA{rity}
7 Men spy duo concocting alias (9)
Anagram [concocting] of MEN SPY DUO
9 One reluctant to describe   shellfish? (4)
Two meanings. The first one’s a bit odd but describing usually involves speech and a human clam is a person of few words.
10 Fitting to include soldier with American instruments (9)
APT (fitting) contains [to include] PARA, then US (American)
14 Cocktail from Caribbean island that Parisian avoids (7)
MARTINI{que} (Caribbean island) [‘that’ Parisian avoids]
15 Cows maybe man’s seen on road (4)
HE (man), RD (road)
17 Agree to provide ring (5)
Two meanings
21 Arguing on regular basis for continuous sequence (3)
{a}R{g}U{i}N{g} [on regular basis]

44 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1990 by Hurley”

  1. I must have been really squinting hard when I convinced myself that CRAB worked for 9dn.

    Oh well, the rest was fun, particularly UNFASHIONABLE.

    Thanks Hurley and Jack.

    1. I put CRAB too. So irritating, but dnf anyway as I couldn’t for the life of me work out CHIME.

      Very enjoyable today , thanks Hurley and Jack.


        1. Thanks – I’ve always been around, but not inclined to comment as I felt I was being a bit left behind. It was a relief to find I could actually complete one again!
  2. Took too much time thinking 8ac was a cheese beginning with F. Worse, I flung in RECOUNTER at 16ac and didn’t come back to it for a long time. Biffed AUTOBIOGRAPHY, biffed UNFASHIONABLE (once I got RACONTEUR right), never saw the wordplay Vinyl points out. 8:34.
  3. Bit of a flail today. Not the quickest but was left with P_A_ for the reluctant shellfish after 8 minutes or so. The alpha trawl (not my strongest suit) yielded nada at which point I realised I needed to replace the P with a C.

    CRAB then quickly “completed” the grid. Whoops!

    Thanks Hurley and Jackkt

  4. A steady solve with no particular hold ups. Needed all the checkers for LOI UNFASHIONABLE which went in with a confused shrug. I can now see that it’s a very clever clue (too clever for me anyway) so thanks for the enlightenment. Also enjoyed PSEUDONYM and MARTINI. Finished in 8.58.
    Thanks to Jack
  5. Great puzzle. We got UNFASHIONABLE because of the checkers — we couldn’t parse it (so thanks for the explanation Jack). We were slow sorting out the SW corner and ended up finishing in 16 minutes.


    Thanks Jack and Hurley.

  6. Reasonably gentle offering this morning with some clear clueing and an amenable grid. I had always thought that pottage was spelt with one t but thought it couldn’t be anything else — checking Google both seem possible. I didn’t understand the parsing of unfashionable either, my LOI, so thanks for the explanation Jack & Vinyl, it’s far cleverer than I realised. I also got a little stuck with chime until I had a sudden moment of revelation. Around the 12 minute mark for me.

    Edited at 2021-10-25 07:47 am (UTC)

  7. That was hard. I really struggled to solve some of the clues even with all the checkers in play. My FOI was LAPTOP, I needed an alphabet search for CLAM, I had to double check the spelling of PATOIS and RACONTEUR, guessed UNFASHIONABLE and wondered what sort of BED one could retire to. My LOsI were CAB having missed the hidden and CATGUT as I was fixated on CAL for California. 12:58 for a poor start to the week.
  8. A puzzle of two halves …
    …as the right side — sorry, starboard side — flew in in no time and the left side took a lot longer. All done in 13 minutes (again showing my solving times are edging longer) but 3D Unfashionable not fully parsed. Now I see it explained it is very clever.

    9D Clam was a sneaky clue with two different crustacea going C-A-, plus IMO a slightly iffy description. But while “one reluctant to describe” didn’t really shout “clam” at me, it didn’t shout “crab” at all. So Clam went in.

    Many thanks to Jack for the blog

    1. Likewise curiously quicker on the starboard side today. Maybe just being on the port this early on a Monday morning was enough to slow the other.
  9. Can’t say I enjoyed this QC. I managed to complete it, albeit with some help from Chambers, and one incorrect answer. 49 minutes.
  10. Didn’t see what was going on at 1a and 1d until BRIEF went in, then progressed steadily down the LHS, then moved to STARBOARD and finished at a RUN. Liked UNFASHIONABLE. 8:15. Thanks Hurley and Jack.
  11. Was going well until I got stuck in the SW with twin bed, raconteur and chime needing an extra five minutes to take me to twenty-one minutes. Many of the QCs take me about this amount of time but I was a bit frustrated to go over twenty. FOI catgut. Did not need the anagram material for autobiography. Did not parse unfashionable. I agree clam was strangely clued. Enjoyed all the clues – considered it was me who couldn’t unravel the three I found tough. It is satisfying when these puzzles finally yield. Thanks, Jack, and Hurley.
  12. Some that I struggled with should have been really obvious. CATGUT a help in NW. FOI TRINKET. Could not parse APPARATUS but it had to be. Easier ones included AUTOBIOGRAPHY and STARBOARD, SYRIAN, PSEUDONYM
    LOI CHIME. Had to think about HERD, oh well. And was uncertain about UNFASHIONABLE.
    Thanks all, esp Jack.
  13. Was going well to start with as the first three went straight in and many other acrosses too, but it turned into quite a tough one. I had UNFORESEEABLE in for 3d which didn’t help and I was so sure it was right that I thought some kind of mistake must have been made when I got PATOIS and the I and the S were the wrong way round. Should have realised that it was far more likely to be a mistake on my part. Anyway, when I’d sorted out UNFASHIONABLE, which I did parse properly and hence immediately made my COD, I was able to get RACONTEUR and then, after an alphabet trawl, my LOI CHIME. Final time 27:23. Unfortunately, I am another in the CRAB brigade, although I think a crabby person or crab might be described as reluctant. Yes, okay, if I’d thought of CLAM I would have gone for it in preference, but how likely is it that two shellfish are C_A_? Oh well, thanks Hurley and Jack.
  14. 14:31 but with an error. I plumped for CRAB. I was held up by opting for POTTAGE before seeing the required answer. I needed all the checkers for UNFASHIONABLE which was my LOI.
    And STARBOARD replaced a shaky OVERBOARD.
    So a difficult day for me.
  15. Biffed LOI 13a with COMMON(=usual thing) as it fitted the three checkers and definition. If I waited to parse every clue I’d never finish these things, such as UNFASHIONABLE today. I had to re-read vinyl’s post three times before I finally understood it. Great misdirection from Hurley, showing that phrases like “make out” resist “lift and separate” treatment, even from experienced solvers.

    Also made the mistake of putting POTTAGE actually in the gird. Mercifully no shellfish could be found with P-A, after a full alphabet trawl all the way to the unlikely PYAZ.

    Very slow to see STARBOARD, and I think that must be a chestnut.

    Went through many cocktails : Bellini, Negroni, before the MARTINI arrived, shaken not stirred.

  16. It didn’t feel so tricky, but took me over my target.

    UNFASHIONABLE was my LOI once all the checkers were in place, and I did get that OUT here was an antonym of the very common “IN”. Probably COD too, though I also liked STARBOARD and MARTINI.


  17. 16 minutes, which is one better than the back end of last week. I really liked UNFASHIONABLE when I saw it (I had wanted it to be unfathomable at first, but it was a letter short), and then I got STARBOARD as soon as I looked at the clue, and 3d became immediately apparent. My LOI was CHIME which I also liked. After not seeing 1a immediately, my strategy of looking immediately at 1d paid dividends, and CAB and TRINKET went straight in. PATOIS held me up a touch, but I’m not sure where other problems might account for my missing target — again.
    1. With you all the way (but no doubt a lap behind!). PATOIS helped me open up the grid.
      UNFASHIONABLE and Fettling seem to go together in my daily work vocabulary!
  18. ….crab, but wouldn’t have been much tempted by it. The cleverness of my COD only became apparent when I came here — MARTINI was in the frame up to then. I avoided the cheese trap (fetta) as soon as TRINKET fell into place.

    LOI CAB (but only because I only spotted it as I was about to submit !)
    TIME 4:44

  19. Thought I’d completed this tricky (sneaky?) puzzle from Hurley in 25 mins, but made the mistake of putting “Common” for 13ac. I couldn’t parse it at the time, but based on some of the other clues which laid clever traps for early biffers, I should have gone back and looked at it.

    Very enjoyable though, if a bit of a work out for a Monday morning. The NW corner was very slow with 3dn needing all the checkers and only then did I have pdm when I spotted the “out” part of the dd.

    FOI — 4ac “Laptop”
    LOI — 3dn “Unfashionable”
    COD — 3dn “Unfashionable”

    Thanks as usual!

  20. I can only echo previous comments. Nice to see CAB making an appearance.

    A steady solve, not quick by any means. However fell into the POTTAGE trap and couldn’t think of anything shellfishy begining with P. Even if I had worked out COTTAGE correctly, I’m sure I would have chosen CRAB rather than CLAM.

    Also bunged in RECOUNTER until towards the end and couldnt finish UNFASHIONABLE. Cut myself off after 50 minutes although 30 of these were spent on the last 3 clues.

    Edited at 2021-10-25 11:06 am (UTC)

  21. ….he is also Pasquale of the Guardian, and is the compiler of today’s 15×15 Quiptic. This puzzle, said to be for less experienced solvers, can be accessed free online.
  22. My time CHIMES precisely with rotter’s today — one minute over my target. Good to start the week under 2K. The starboard side was finished quickly (like others, I only parsed UNFASHIONABLE later) and most of the rest was a steady solve. Good to have a friendly grid and the longer answers dropped out easily. Pottage/COTTAGE and CLAM were my last two to get right. A good puzzle. Thanks to Hurley and jackkt. John M.

    Edited at 2021-10-25 12:23 pm (UTC)

  23. 8:18 this morning, back after a very enjoyable week away in Perthshire and felt very rusty, with few answers springing to mind readily.
    LOI 9 d “clam” which seemed to take ages, what with a somewhat stubborn “crab” not getting out of the way.
    A rare bright spot was parsing and appreciating COD 3 d “unfashionable”.
    Thanks to Jack and Hurley.
  24. Couldn’t parse COTTAGE but got lucky. Couldn’t parse COMMON either but that one gave me three pink squares and one error. Had to scroll a long way to find safety in numbers on making mistake. NHO pottage except as part of Pease Pottage. Wikipedia tells me the village may be named for the ‘thick soup’ but not it also says it is ‘implausible’. The elation on solving the first clue of the week at the first attempt turns out to have been short lived. Not all green in under 12.
  25. I struggled with this one, needing aids to finish it. Also,doing it on my phone didn’t help. Every time I left the app and returned,the grid had been reset 🙁
    Normally, it remembers what I fill in when I leave and return. Anyone else noticed this?
  26. 28 minutes and feeling pleased however….
    Crab and Common both wrong.
    I didn’t see Unfashionable early so also had many a minute with the nearly obvious Overboard in and incorrect. It had to be wrong since neither 9d C/E/ or any combo for 3d worked .
    I thought that Common was incorrect but forgot to revisit.
    Some ‘easy’ small ones and ultimately pretty hard overall imo.

    I like longer clues to be two or more words.

    I was pleased to see Twin Bed quickly.
    Not too happy with Clam but hey ho.

    Thanks all
    John George

  27. Joined the crab and common crew. Pondered over cottage and pottage beford getting bitten by the crab. We found today a mixture of quick solves and others that caused problems.
  28. Bumbled along ending up on a TWIN-BED at 19ac, my LOI

    FOI 10ac ASK

    COD 3dn UNFASHIONABLE — 17ac CHIME was decent

    WOD 9dn CRAM — shellfish from Guangdong Province

    Haven’t really recovered from events at Old Trafford yesterday!
    And the Pakistani thrashing of India! And Hamilton’s failure in ‘his Austin!‘

    Edited at 2021-10-25 05:18 pm (UTC)

  29. 5 minutes under target so must have been fairly easy today. I just couldn’t figure out from the clue whether it was pottage or cottage and wasn’t convinced by clam but stuck them in and hoped for the best.
  30. Well that is a first for me. Getting 2 clues wrong but having all the checkers in the right place. I had common for Norman. And crab for clam. Ah well. I also had unforeseeable for unfashionable. But realised that one was wrong. Nice puzzle even though it beat me. Fred
  31. …but it ended up as a DNF. Absolutely galling! At 22 minutes, this was my fastest time in over two months (and I finished ahead of Mrs R), but I fell into the CRAB trap. And I had been so pleased to see Hurley was today’s setter, especially after the difficulties of the last couple of weeks.
  32. A late visit this evening, although I did this in the morning. A bit over 9 minutes, so quite happy with that, considering people who are usually much quicker than me took about the same time! I had to go back to 9a to change the P to a C — even though the cluing was clear. ‘This country building’ should have steered met in the right direction 😅 No problems with 3d — what a lovely clue. I liked the surface for PSEUDONYM a lot too.
    FOI Catgut
    LOI Chime
    COD Unfashionable
    Thanks Hurley and Jack

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