Times Quick Cryptic 1997 by Hurley

Really enjoyed this. Not a puzzle with exceptionally polished surfaces, but just confusing enough to entertain.

There is not a single word in any of the clues or answers that is unusual or unreasonable, nor any really obscure crosswordese, so I hope you all came in below target. Nevertheless, it was a very mixed bag for me, difficulty-wise. A few answers just jumped out, most took a second look, and a couple were very reticent to fall (for no obvious reason now). I was pushed just beyond my averge solving time.

Definitions underlined.

1 Mother’s period home given to daughter, very bright person! (10)
MASTERMIND – MA’S (mother’s), TERM (period), IN (home), and D (daughter).
8 Passionate type of romantic relationship is doomed, initially (6)
TORRID – first letters from (initially) Type Of Romantic Relationship Is Doomed.
9 Seaman gets new beginning — he’s working in menswear (6)
TAILOR – sAILOR (seaman) replacing the ‘s’ for a ‘T’ (gets new beginning).
10 Genuine regret, after time (4)
TRUE – RUE (regret) after T (time).
11 Signs figure in harbour towns (8)
PORTENTS – TEN (figure) in PORTS (harbour towns).
12 Unfortunately goes to butt of jokes (6)
STOOGE – anagram of (unfortunately) GOES TO.
14 An accompanying person in Paris is stifling exclamation of surprise (6)
ESCORT – EST (French for (in Paris) ‘is’) containing (stifling) COR (exclamation of surprise).
16 First appearance of rime, peer curiously (8)
PREMIERE – anagram of (curiously) RIME PEER.
18 Jibing at heart when showing prejudice (4)
BIAS – central letters from (at heart) jiBIng, then AS (when).
20 Name that’s seen on door? (6)
HANDLE – double definition.
21 Good score for child’s term for flier (6)
BIRDIE – double definition.
22 Great hotel for swimming on the whole (10)
ALTOGETHER – anagram of (for swimming) GREAT HOTEL.

2 Love in the morning associated with us? (5)
AMOUR – AM (the morning) and OUR (associated with us).
3 Wreck party after hill exercise (7)
TORPEDO – DO (party), after TOR (hill) and PE (exercise).
4 Brought up the German wine (3)
RED – reversal of (brought up) DER (‘the’, in German).
5 Ultimately got free rein, mistakenly, to meddle (9)
INTERFERE – anagram of (mistakenly) the last letter of (ultimately) goT with FREE REIN.
6 Doctor, I have ambition! (5)
DRIVE – DR (doctor) and I’VE (I have).
7 Promote development of New Forest (6)
FOSTER – anagram of (new) FOREST.
11 Point about playground garden — an example to be followed (9)
PRECEDENT – PT (point) containing (about) REC (playground) and EDEN (garden).
13 Ultimate in smart town headgear (6)
TURBAN – last letter of (ultimate in) smarT, then URBAN (town).
15 Entertainment seen in ancient era, bacchanalian, recalled (7)
CABARET – hidden in (seen in) ancienT ERA BACchanalian reversed (recalled).
17 Communicators on the rise aim to captivate English Duke (5)
MEDIA – reversal of (on the rise) AIM, containing (to captivate) E (English) and D (Duke).
19 Assistant interrupted by second digression (5)
ASIDE – AIDE (assistant) containing (interrupted by) S (second).
21 Abridge on regular basis — that’s important (3)
BIG – every other letter from (on a regular basis) aBrIdGe.

55 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 1997 by Hurley”

  1. A great puzzle that seemed like it was going to be super-tough but gradually yielded. Enjoyed seeing BIAS pop out as I read the clue, PRECEDENT took some unravelling while today’s (first) self-inflicted wound was parsing properly and then writing in ‘sailor’ for TAILOR regardless which made INTERFERE tricky. But the biggest self-inflicted wound was leaving an empty square in the middle of RED. I’d skipped over it wondering how ‘sad’ meant wine and never revisited. 13m plus however long it would have taken to type that middle E.

    Edited at 2021-11-03 07:50 am (UTC)

  2. 13:47 well inside target. LOI TORRID

    I rather alarmingly considered MASTER RACE AT 1a, TERRACE=period home. Even at submission I thought that “termin” must be some kind of mansion, did not see the “lift & separate”.

    Maybe this

    Aryan claims Mother’s small house (6,4)

    CABARET was fortunately a “hidden” as those As and Es can be mistakenly switched around and the vowels are all unches.

    COD TORPEDO which I got by assembling as instructed.

    Edited at 2021-11-03 10:13 am (UTC)

  3. Eighteen whole, lousy minutes! I just never got out of second gear.

    FOI 6dn DRIVE — gravel

    LOI 20ac HANDLE — expletive deleted!

    COD 7dn FOSTER — puddle — middle

    WOD 12ac — all the world is a STOOGE!

    17dn should be spelt ‘MEDJA’ innit!?

  4. Mind went blank on BIRDIE at the end but otherwise mainly on the gentler side

    Rather liked some of the surfaces but otherwise agree with William’s thoughts on the puzzle

    Presumably a chestnut (?) but the anagram for ALTOGETHER was clever

    Thanks all

  5. Similar experience to our blogger …
    … with a pleasant solve and a finish under target at 9 minutes. LOI was 21A Birdie, where I took some time to see how the clue worked before realising it was a double definition. Otherwise few problems, much to enjoy.

    Many thanks to William for the blog

  6. Complete brain freeze on LOI PRECEDENT but other than that a mainly gentle solve. However FOSTER took a surprising amount of time to untangle and I feared that RED was going to require knowledge of German wines until the MASTERMIND went in. I’ve seen STOOGE In a puzzle recently which helped. Finished in 9.14.
    Thanks to William
  7. Hmm, all done in less than 2 Horryds, but didn’t enjoy the experience much. 7D, the New Forest was rather smooth, but others I found somewhat clunky. Couldn’t see what was going on with ALTOGETHER for some time; I appreciate that almost anything goes as an anagram indicator, but “for swimming”? Just not in a Hurley mood today perhaps.
    1. That’s it! Drag me into your misery! Folks will get the impression that I am Mr.Grumpy’s doppelganger, or worse! My best regards to Plymouth – horryd
  8. Very enjoyable puzzle — took a bit of getting into but then things fell into place. All done in 11 minutes.


    Thanks William and Hurley

    1. Zoomed through quite quickly, then stalled at last two. Finally got a HANDLE on 20a but feebly looked up hats for TURBAN.
      Liked BIRDIE, STOOGE , TORRID etc. Failed to parse MASTERMIND and BIAS
      Hope the frost and sun wake me up. FOI RED.
      Thanks all, esp William.

      Edited at 2021-11-03 11:31 am (UTC)

  9. 12 minutes and back on track, feeling much better today. 3, 4, 5 and 6 down were first ones in, which revealed MASTERMIND and in turn, AMOUR for a great start. LOI was TURBAN, AOD (anagram of the day) has to be ALTOGETHER. I think I liked BIRDIE best. Many thanks Hurley and William.
  10. Set off at a gallop, but then got bogged down in the lower half. RED and AMOUR were first 2 in, but I got stuck on TURBAN and especially BIRDIE, for which a had to do a paper alphabet trawl. 14:01. Thanks Hurley and William.
  11. ….but I needed to keep correcting typos as I went. I think there were 7 of them, which must have added a good 45 seconds to my time.

    TIME 4:50

    Edited at 2021-11-03 09:29 am (UTC)

  12. A good puzzle. I was bowling along but was interrupted by a phone call from son re my offer to construct built-in cupboards at his home. So, brain scrambled by discussion of dimensions, hinge types, skirting, architrave….
    So, no time but a fast solve became a late crawl. I took a while to see my last few — PRECEDENT, HANDLE, and MEDIA (doh!). COD BIRDIE. Thanks to Hurley and William.
  13. Another ten-minute solve. Keep this up and I’ll think my solving skills are developing. Thoroughly expecting a twenty-minute-plus any day now, or a DNF. Must be on the horizon. FOI Mastermind, having watched it on Monday. LOI turban. Saw ages before and thought “Can’t be, surely?” Toyed with tornado but it wouldn’t parse so I left it until after true dropped out, aha! a liquorice torpedo! AKA lipstick. Well, the red ones. Yesterday’s puzzle had a lot to offer the biologist. Today only birdie. COD escort, we’ve had altogether recently so I saw it straight away. Parsed most of the clues, and here I find I parsed a couple only partially. Had the Covid booster this morning, must have woken me up. Thanks, William, and Hurley.
  14. My apologies for my rant yesterday. I was having a really bad day.

    Today I finished the QC in 35 minutes which is good for me.

    Some of my answers were educated guesses rather than using the wordplay :
    PRECEDENT, TORPEDO, MASTERMIND, PORTENTS – so the analysis of the wordplay involved has been instructive.

    I should not expect an easy QC every day, but is a relief to occasionally get one that I can finish correctly.

    1. Thanks for apologising. This is generally a very polite and supportive community so it’s not a good idea to cast general aspersions on those who take part in it. But we all have bad days!

      Your comments today are positive and more the sort of thing we expect of our contributors so please feel free to join in in a similar manner in the future.

      Please sign up for a Live Journal identity (at no extra charge) or at least add a name at the end of your postings so we know it’s you.

  15. Spot on QCC and finished dead on in 20.00 minutes which seemed lightning speed, with no passes. Liked most clues as I was not stuck to parse them on completion.
    Had booster 2 weeks ago so going to a museum today for a lecture to celebrate. A reminder of how the world used to be.
    Thanks Chris and Hurley
    1. It’s a while since I had the pleasure of going to a museum, but I’m no stranger to lectures. Mrs Random is not slow to dispense one when the need arises.
  16. But I do always read and enjoy the posts. Today’s puzzle was great fun, not least because I finished it in just under 12 happy minutes. A chunk of that was spent on my last 2 in, the 11 across / down combo. This was mainly because I kept thinking that, somehow, 11 down must contain a compass “point ” and I couldn’t — unsurprisingly — find a word that fitted. Once I’d got PRECEDENT, though, PORTENTS fell into place straightaway. Very much liked 1 across, MASTERMIND (because of the flatpack parsing ), 8, TORRID, (because of the cleverness of finding a sentence that fits both surface and initial letter wordplay) and both of the 11s (both were PDMs). Thanks so much, William for the blog and Hurley for the puzzle
    1. It’s good to hear from you again, Louisa. Perhaps you could wheel out your ‘exasperometer’ again from time to time.
  17. Cantered through all but 4 clues in 7 mins, then stuck for a further 9 unravelling the last!

    HANDLE – groaned when I finally saw this as a double definition, rather than trying to construct an answer from constituent parts somehow.

    BIRDIE – no excuses on this one, as a keen golfer this should have been a write-in

    ALTOGETHER – bamboozled and misdirected by wordplay before finally spotting “for swimming” as an anagram indicator

    PRECEDENT – EDEN for garden is so obvious. I can’t believe I missed it.

    Overall a lovely puzzle without, as per blogger, any particularly obscure or outdated terminology. Thanks to Hurley and William both.

  18. Zipped through this in 7 minutes – everything just seemed to fall into place, although I had to go back to HANDLE a couple of times. I rather liked the juxtaposition of TORRID, TRUE and AMOUR! The ESCORT / CABARET combination raised a smile too.
    I like the idea of an AOD, Rotter, and agree with your (and dvynys’s) choice too!
    FOI Torrid
    LOI Handle
    COD Tailor

    Many thanks Hurley and William

    I found today’s biggie relatively easy too – just a couple really foxed me. I probably should have persevered a bit more but have things to be getting on with!

    1. It took me at least 2 minutes of head scratching to work out HANDLE…

      I started by going through a name trawl in attempt to find one that had anything to do with a door. Only after giving up on that, did I start working my way around the door next to me!

  19. Really struggled with this today but gradually things fell into place – except HANDLE: doh!!!
  20. My experience was the same as William’s – some answers went straight in but others (inexplicably in retrospect) caused quite a hold-up. More time was spent on 8ac, 14ac and 7dn than should have been. However, all was finished and parsed in 18 mins, so within my target time of 15-20 mins. Thought it was a nice puzzle – thanks Hurley.

    LOI – 8ac TORRID
    COD – 13dn TURBAN

  21. An enjoyable 15 mins for me. For once the NW corner went in fairly easy and the rest just followed steadily.

    Main hold up was the 17dn “Media” and 20ac “Handle” axis at the bottom. Nothing stood out massively for the rest, although I liked 3dn “Torpedo” and 21ac “Birdie”.

    FOI — 1ac “Mastermind”
    LOI — 20ac “Handle”
    COD — 3dn “Torpedo”

    Thanks as usual!

  22. Yes, this was a cracking QC and perfectly pitched in my opinion. Quite different to the last Hurley I attempted (1981) which was a bit of a non-starter.

    We were discussing the other day the idea of a SCS — a Satisfying Crossword Solve. This fits the bill perfectly!

    Some easy clues but also some which required a little thought (at least from a beginner like me). After 15 minutes I had all but 5 clues in, and spent about the same time again filling in the blanks on my cruise back into the SCC.

    Must remember:

    Playground = REC
    Exercise = PE

    COD PORTENTS — there’s no way I would have managed a clue like this a few weeks ago, let alone months. Trust the wordplay!

    Edited at 2021-11-03 12:05 pm (UTC)

    1. It’s very satisfying when you feel you are making progress – delighted for you.
  23. kip last night for some unknown reason, so more than a bit groggy.

    Still, a fun puzzle, on the easier end of the spectrum. Lots of “unpacking” to do in e.g. PRECEDENT, PORTENTS, MASTERMIND, ESCORT etc

    BIAS probably my favourite, TURBAN LOI.


    Edited at 2021-11-03 12:56 pm (UTC)

  24. I spent at least 5 mins on precedent my LOI and pushed me into SCC with a typo too.

    Also struggled a bit with turban and altogether, but on the whole a good challenge. Thanks William for explaining precedent, obvious once you know, and to Hurley

  25. An enjoyable puzzle that mostly bounced along nicely. A DNF, however, as I could not shift “en” from my mind at 14a and stuck with “encore” somehow kidding myself that :accompanying” had a musical connotation. I should always trust my instinct that if it doesn’t feel right it almost certainly isn’t right. FOI Mastermind, LOI, Turban, COD, my downfall, Escort. Thanks to William and Hurley.

    Edited at 2021-11-03 01:18 pm (UTC)

  26. Nearly sub ten but Stooge and Torrid LOI did for me.
    But the rest generally flew in with a few holdups along the way.
    Thanks all
    John George
  27. Completed. Very nice QC, with some tricky clues.

    Torrid was my last one in. I had torrid in my mind for a very long time, but did not think torrid meant passionate. Yet with the letters I had it seemed to be the logical answer.

    Not timed.

  28. …as I have had rather a lot going on 😬 Really pleased to be able to manage this with no problems. Maybe I need to take a break more often 😆 Good to be back. Many thanks William and Hurley. PRECEDENT was hard to parse, COD ESCORT, LOI TURBAN
  29. I have just been catching up with the QCs for the past week and I think this was one of the easier offerings despite my LOI being 1a MASTERMIND. I forgot to separate period and home in the wordplay. Other than that I had one biff with ESCORT which I parsed post submission. 7:57 so yes William I came in under target.
  30. Hurley is usually my favourite setter, at least in terms of completion times, so my DNF with him last week felt like a real kick in the teeth. However, my 28-minute finish today made up for that disappointment and I enjoyed the solving process throughout.

    Getting MASTERMIND at the outset really helped and I reached my half-way point in very fast time indeed. However, I slowed somewhat after that and ended up semi-alphabet-trawling BIAS, BIRDIE and PRECEDENT (my LOI) to finish.

    That’s all for now, as Mrs R is with her parents again today – she is taking them for their booster jabs – but I will report back if she tackles the puzzle later.

    Many thanks to Joker and William.

  31. 3:58 this morning, my quickest time for a while for a Hurley QC, where I usually find something to delay me, but today that wasn’t the case.
    As others have commented already, no GK issues or other complexities but a neatly clued and well-pitched puzzle.
    LOI 13 d “turban” and COD 1 ac “mastermind”.
    Thanks to William and Liz.
    1. Well done. I really must sharpen my pencil! You sub 4 minute milers are done and dusted before some of us ponderous folk have had time to read the first couple of clues and wipe the crumbs and finger marks off the screen.

      Edited at 2021-11-03 03:36 pm (UTC)

      1. Thanks very much. When you’ve been doing Times Crosswords for as long as I have, some things do rub off, I guess. And much of “crosswordese” is like learning a foreign language and the related “vocabulary” definitely builds up over time. I hope you keep enjoying the learning process!🙂
  32. Rather late coming here as I had no time to do the puzzle before going out to play golf (clocks back etc.).
    I thought it was an excellent QC. It is ironic that I was held up by LOI BIRDIE, COD for me.
    A golf clue which I took ages to see; and I had a birdie today (not that common for me).
    Did not time the solve but about average for me.
  33. Coach and horses are on their way, 1.1 score minutes to finish, must have been feeding good oats today. A minor admission, which I have to say in this so honest gathering, I put Tailor but parsed it as Tar with a very odd bit in the middle.
    1. I suspect you weren’t the only one! I certainly started off thinking it was TAR+something 😅
      I think your comment about this community being honest is so true. I’m sure it helps newbies to see oldies owning up to errors, DNFs etc. It certainly made a difference to me when I started. I also think it’s nice that there isn’t very much showing off here (despite what some people might think!) Sharing our experiences — good and bad — is what it’s all about 😊
  34. No real hold ups and we’ll inside 20 minute target. Thought the name might end ie (that’s) like sandie but didn’t see the link to door. Once I had turban it was obvious.
  35. After yesterday’s tribulations, I was on the wavelength. Bizarre how things can change so much. Gary

Comments are closed.