Times Quick Cryptic 2041 by Hurley

8:30 for an approachable QC today – although I nearly tripped myself up at 1dn. Otherwise, plenty of short answers helped and many clues simply ‘fell in’. Hopefully the SCC will have fewer members today – good luck!

Definitions are underlined.

1 Inform about road options, by the sound of it, for ordinary people (10)
GRASSROOTS – inform about (GRASS – as in grass up), homophone of road options – routes.
7 Soccer official, Italian, works to improve (5)
REFIT – soccer official (REF), Italian (IT).
8 Temporary home period I included (7)
INTERIM – home (IN), period (TERM) and insert I (I).
10 After scandal, man accommodating English at very low price (4-5)
DIRT-CHEAP – after scandal (DIRT), man (CHAP) and insert English (E).
12 Part of cap that is fitting (3)
APT – part of the clue – c(AP T)hat.
13 Speech one’s rewritten — about Royal Marines (6)
SERMON – anagram (rewritten) of ONES around Royal Marines (RM).
15 Greeting detective, we hear, in advanced style (2,4)
HI TECH – greeting (HI), homophone (we hear) of detective – tec.
16 High mountain with a lake and parking (3)
ALP – a (A), lake (L), parking (P).
17 Needing no introduction, wench one lad’s seen with — a Mexican dish! (9)
ENCHILADA – take the introduction off w(ENCH), one (I), lad (LAD) with a (A).
20 Realise daughter is at Church — remain on outside (7)
DISCERN – daughter (D), is (IS), Church (CE – Chirch of England), (R)emai(N).
22 Bird, better than birdie? (5)
EAGLE – a birdie is 1 under par, an eagle is 2 under par with an Albatross 3 under. Bird names may come from the expression ‘a bird of a shot’ – with an Eagle being a bigger bird and an Albatross very rare.
23 Friendly event noble recollected (10)
BENEVOLENT – anagram (recollected) of EVENT NOBLE.
1 Attempt to join RAF on way up? Succeed (2,3)
GO FAR – attempt (GO), RAF upwards (FAR). I wanted to put GO FOR with attempt as the definition and it took some doing to switch to succeed as the definition.
2 Vegetable a chore — Kit harassed (9)
ARTICHOKE – anagram (harassed) of A CHORE KIT.
3 Victory in southeast he’s referred to with contempt (5)
SWINE – victory (WIN) inside southeast (SE). Longest definition of the day award!
4 Public not allowed (3)
OUT – double definition.
5 Row of houses in sketch, engaging Queen (7)
TERRACE – sketch (TRACE) with Queen (ER) included.
6 One often finishing second misread bid unfortunately (10)
BRIDESMAID – anagram (unfortunately) of MISREAD BID. A team that has a history of losing in a final may be referred to as being the bridesmaid, never the bride.
9 Manufacturer of timepieces with new start becomes go-between for couples (10)
MATCHMAKER – manufacturer of timepieces (wATCHMAKER) and switch the start letter to M.
11 Vigil peer arranged? That’s right (9)
PRIVILEGE – anagram (arranged) of VIGIL PEER. A privilege is a special right or advantage only one person or group has.
14 Rhode Island job, attractive ultimately, gets quick response (7)
RIPOSTE – Rhode Island (RI), job (POST), attractiv(E).
18 Confident contribution from medic and orderly (3-2)
CAN-DO – part of medi(C AND O)rderly.
19 Worry as new gaffer sets tasks at the outset (5)
ANGST – (A)s (N)ew (G)affer (S)ets (T)asks.
21 Female’s oeuvre oddly ignored (3)
EVE – o(E)u(V)r(E).

67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2041 by Hurley”

  1. Top to bottom solve. I would expect some fast times for all.

    FOI 1dn GO FAR – GO FoR quickly discarded

    LOI 18dn CAN DO

    COD 9dn MATCHMAKER – Fiddler on the Roof?


    Genuinely QC easy-peasy!

    Edited at 2022-01-04 03:49 am (UTC)

  2. Biffed INTERIM & BENEVOLENT. Some fast times indeed, with Jason 1st at 2:08, half my 4:26.
  3. Relatively new to cryptics and this is the closest I’ve come to finishing.
    Didn’t get bridesmaid, terrace, or hi tech. Maybe there’s hope for me yet.
  4. I didn’t find this one too difficult, though I was a little slow to start. Once I got the longer answers, the others came to me a lot easier. Almost reached for Chambers with my LOI (Angst). But just as I was about to ask for help, the answer came to me.

    Never heard of bridesmaid as a term in this context, but with the letters I had in place, and knowing it was an anagram, it just had to be the answer.

    30 minutes, no aids. Candy store, open your doors!

    1. try: ‘Never the bride, always the bridesmaid’…

      – Andrew-Turner (LJ won’t let me sign in…so here as Anon)

  5. I biffed 1Ac as pedestrian which lost me a bit of time undoing when I realised it didn’t fit. Suddenly I was at 8 minutes with only 1 clue in. Once I realised my mistake, it was all reasonably straightforward with the only real hesitation at bridesmaid and the new 1ac. All done in 18.

    Thanks Chris & Hurley

    FOI swine
    LOI out
    COD bridesmaid

  6. Put in a few of the top row danglers and then biffed GRASSROOTS. LOI BRIDESMAID. 7:34. Thanks Hurley and Chris.
  7. Very annoyed at myself. Whizzed through this in 11:29 for what would have been my sixth fastest ever, but I then found I had 1d wrong. In my haste I had only glanced at the clue and just taken in the “Attempt” bit, which, given I had G_ / F_R clearly indicated GO FOR. At least it wasn’t going to be a pb. FOI REFIT, LOI BENEVOLENT, COD GRASSROOTS. Thanks Hurley and Chris.
  8. in 4:50 or so, except for 19D, where I was faced with A?G?T, pretty sure “worry” was the def, and the “T” came from the “outset of tasks”. >2 minutes spent alternately thinking and alphabet trawling, with no luck until the penny finally dropped that it wasn’t just “tasks” I should have been looking at…


    ENCHILADA made me smile along the way.


  9. … and the clock stopped at a second or two under 5 minutes! I think I have only once before done a sub 5-minuter. But for all that, an enjoyable puzzle too, and remarkable in one sense in having a hidden of only 3 letters in 12A Apt which was still not easy to see first time through.

    I am not sure I can put a finger on why I was quite that fast (obviously it was not a chewy puzzle, but …), and it may just be the counterpart to the much more common feeling I get when I slog to a 15 minute plus solve, look at the blog and cannot see what took me so long!

    Many thanks to Chris for the blog — though I think you may have had your predictive text on, with both wRench in 17A and RhodeSIA in 14D slipping in.

    1. Naturally, LJ provides no ‘like’ etc. option today, so I can’t click on the appropriate icon, there being no icon. Anyway, well bloody done!
        1. I think I’ve lost count by now! Thanks – now updated. I suspect I’m going to have to invest in another (more powerful) pair of reading glasses.
  10. Good start for me but I was held up at the end by BRIDESMAID, SWINE (I was fixated on a V for victory), and GRASSROOTS which fell out when the S of swine was available. Two mins over target which is disappointing because it was a fair and approachable puzzle with some excellent clues.
    Thanks to Hurley and Chris. John M.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 09:44 am (UTC)

  11. This was one of my quicker ones, although for the life of me, I had to think about 1ac for quite a while at the end. Not much else to say.
    Thanks for the blog, Chris, and for the puzzle Mr Hurley. 2/2 this week.
  12. Took a while to start but eventually got going – thanks setter and blogger! I think grass roots is either two words or hyphenated but it was fair enough. wasn’t convinced by bridesmaid but your explanation makes good sense. Thanks again!
    1. It’s always worth checking such matters with Collins dictionary and Lexico (Oxford Dictionary) both of which are available free online, as these are the main source dictionaries for the QC and 15×15 puzzles.

      On this one Lexico has ‘grassroots’ only. Collins offers it as one word, two words and hyphenated. Elsewhere Chambers likes the hyphen, and the Shorter Oxford goes for two words.

      Edited at 2022-01-04 10:53 am (UTC)

      1. Thanks – to be clear I wasn’t questioning the validity. It’s interesting to know that setters might be favouring particular reference works. It might be helpful if this was more clearly established – might also cut out some of the controversies. I used to find it helpful to know that the torygraph used Chambers – not sure if that is still the case!
        1. Thanks. It’s always interesting to question things as that’s what this forum thrives on. I note there have been quite a lot of comments recently along the lines ‘this is so, no matter what the dictionaries may say’ and I have written that a few times myself over the years, so I doubt anything would remove the controversies – nor would we wish to. It’s very rare that you would find anything in a Times puzzle that wasn’t justified by Lexico or Collins, but with Chambers as occasional backup. We shouldn’t need to refer to American dictionaries or Wiki-whatever.
    2. In Merriam-Webster, it’s two words as a noun (“support from the grass roots”) but one as an adjective (“grassroots support”).
  13. Aargh — too much biffing! We were on a roll and very close to finishing when our confident assumptions brought us down. Definitely a case of more haste less speed. We eventually finished in 18 minutes.


    Thanks Chris and Hurley.

    1. My FOI and LOI were the same and even with spending what seemed like an age on Grassroots I finished in 15.02 which is a record for me. Biffed Enchilada but saw it was an anagram and checked it quickly but generously clued I thought.

      Many thank to all

  14. Reasonably quick today but with a couple of unnecessary hold ups over SERMON and ENCHILADA, where I was trying to find synonyms of wench to remove the first letter from, having had a complete brain freeze over Mexican foods other than fajitas and empanadas.
    Finished in 7.58 with LOI CAN DO.
    Thanks to Chris
  15. A gentle start to the New Year for me, with the grid complete in a few seconds under 10 mins.

    No particular troubles – NHO TEC for “detective” but the crossers and definition got me there, but otherwise relatively straightforward.

    Thanks setter and blogger!

  16. About 10 minutes on paper. No particular hold-ups. My last two were MATCHMAKER and ANGST where I missed the indicator to look for the first letters.
    A very pleasant puzzle.
  17. I foolishly wasted a minute or two trying to start with 1ac before switching to its offspring. After that, it was a straightforward top to bottom solve finishing in 13 minutes — so it would have been about as fast as I can write and parse these days. A relief after yesterday’s struggles, so thank you Hurley and of course Chris. Invariant

    Edited at 2022-01-04 10:23 am (UTC)

  18. Fourteen minutes. FOI dirt cheap, LOI out, sixteen on first pass. Felt easy, don’t know why the big hand on the clock moved so far while I did this. COD grassroots as it needed all the checkers. Thanks, Chris and Hurley. Thanks to Flashman for saying the 15 x 15 is doable today, I’ll have a look later on. I rarely try it unless someone on here says it’s crackable. As Kevin says, I still have no opportunity to “like” comments on here most days – I would if I could.
    1. If you look on the snitch website it gives you a difficulty rating. Anything greenish or under 80 are good to start off with. You can also see which earlier ones are worth a crack.
  19. Similarly to everyone else I found this straightforward, at 17 mins fully parsed with no biffing, well under my 20 min target (but nowhere near my 13 min PB). I thought some of the clues were a bit too generous. 17a for example could have excluded the hyphen and would have provided a little more misdirection. I did smile at that one though.

    Thanks as always to Hurley for an enjoyable puzzle and Chris for the blog. chris – What is SCC by the way? Prof

    1. The SCC is a self deprecating and humorous term. Membership of the slow coach club is available to those valiant enough to have a go at these things and succeed in completing but past the 20 minute mark. I suppose it acts as a form of solidarity and encouragement to those who look on the formula one set (say, sub 5 minutes) with disbelief and awe. I’m happy to say that you are barred from entry today due to your very good time.
      1. As a permanent member of the SCC I welcome the acknowledgment that some of us (well, me) will probably never make it below 20 and are totally happy that way.

        Thanks all, for an excellent one today – 1 nearly made it through the barrier.


        1. You and me, both, Diana. I solved one, a good while ago, in about 15 minutes, but it usually takes 20+. However, given how much I enjoy the solve, I’m not keen to race through.
  20. 10:46 for another pre-Conquest time. No real trouble. Fair amount of biffing, with LOI the rather tame OUT. I had to check OPT and OFT first, as ANGST and APT had put in mind words ending with in T with a double consonant.

    TEC=Detective? Don’t think I ever heard it on on any of the many cop shows on TV. I think if a Police Officer asked for a “tec” a technician would show up.


    PS Agree on the 15×15. Worth a shot today.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 12:57 pm (UTC)

  21. Much better time for me after a run in the SCC, at a few seconds inside 12 minutes. Thankfully, my usual quick error check before entering LOI (BENEVOLENT in this case) picked up a misspelled RePOSTE instead of RIPOSTE (I obviously knew the answer, having parsed it, but entered it wrongly in my haste to finish). Thanks Hurley and Chris.
  22. Some speed, some stroll and savour…. Kudos to those who can and do zing through, but there is much enjoyment in a more leisured approach to solving. The joy of this group is that all coexist in relative harmony most of the time.
    Enjoyed these clues whilst queuing, so somewhat stop-start attention wise, and a very SCC time of about 5 Horryds (other fellow solver-related yardsticks are available). No real headaches although GRASSROOTS took a little time. Liked BRIDESMAID amongst others. Happy 2022 solving to all.
  23. A good QC puzzle today. Just the right level for a QC. Took me 20 minutes with GRASSROOTS LOI.
  24. ….but, as I often do, I’ve devoted more time to analysing and enjoying the clues later. Hopefully that approach is helpful to my own compiling efforts ! Nothing to cause any difficulty to a long-standing solver

    TIME 3:33

  25. Did a few clues. Went shopping and on return found the brain was working better. Must have been the cold rain that woke me up.
    Yes, I don’t time myself but am definitely a SCC member.Thanks vm, Chris.
  26. I took 3-4 minutes to get started (with SERMON or ALP, I think), but then sailed along merrily until hitting the buffers with two to go.

    One of these was GRASSROOTS where, despite seeing GRASS early, I just could not think of ROOTS/routes. To me, “Inform about …” gave me GRAS_____S, which left me trying to make S___T (I had 3d and 5d, but not 4d) into something to do with “road options”. I switched to 4d, but __T required a long alphabet trawl, which resulted in 64 different words, none of which made sense with the clue. Eventually, I returned to 1a and found GRASSROOTS, and OUT followed fairly soon after. All of that faffing about too me quite a while, and I finished in 26 minutes – still jolly quick for me.

    Mrs Random experienced none of these frustrations and sailed serenely through the grid in 18 minutes today. She had 20 minutes to spare and likes to make the QC fill the available time if possible.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Chris.

    1. ‘About’ is one of the most confusing words to come across in a clue, as it could mean any of the following: Re, C, Ca, as well as indicating reversed letters or possibly, as you suggested, enclosed letters.

      Edited at 2022-01-04 01:13 pm (UTC)

  27. Much better today at 9 minutes. A bit of a stab in the dark with EAGLE — I knew it was a golfing term but not where it came in the pecking order (so to speak) Not a lot to say otherwise — I’m afraid nothing really stood out for me.
    FOI Refit
    LOI Matchmaker
    COD Bridesmaid
    Thanks Hurley and Chris

    I did the biggie in about half an hour, so I’d recommend it too 😀

  28. Broken laptop forced me onto my Christmas Kindle. 15m which seemed OK until I can here! Held up by not noticing a wonky RIPOSTE which took unravelling before LOI BRIDESMAID went in — looking at the wrong end of the clue not helping. First puzzle since the 23rd, nice to be back.
  29. Waah! Just under two Jasons! FOI Grassroots. LOI Benevolent. COD 6dn Bridesmaid. WOD
    Dirt cheap.

    Edited at 2022-01-04 02:00 pm (UTC)

  30. All done in 19 mins, apart from 1ac “Grassroots” which stubbornly refused to reveal itself. Therefore a dnf to start the New Year (haven’t done yesterdays yet).

    Nothing massively special jumped out, although I nearly got caught out by putting “Let” for 4dn.

    FOI — 1dn “Go Far”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 6dn “Bridesmaid” (anagram took far longer than it should!)

    Thanks as usual!

  31. Slow start reading the across clues first, with nothing until 12ac. After that things improved and I didn’t encounter any more hold-ups. All finished and parsed in 16 mins.
    A relatively easy puzzle which I probably should have done more quickly.

    FOI – 12ac APT
    LOI – 1dn GO FAR
    COD – 13ac HI TECH

    Thanks to Hurley and Chris

  32. This was a quick cryptic and I finished in a rare sub 5 minutes. FOI GO FAR and LOI BRIDESMAID. 4:58 Thanks to Hurley.
  33. 12 minutes for me and very fine experience too.
    A few nervous moments along the way — Mexican dish… eek! But safely navigated after generously clued…Hi-Tech ok once all checkers available….
    COD 22a birdie eagle…. smiled at that.
    Thanks all
    John George
  34. I might stat using blogger’s time yardsticks as an homage to their service to this community. Very enjoyable romp thanks Hurley. Done and dusted in 1.7 Cs

  35. I’m pleased to get everything right in under 20 minutes, so a sub-10 suggests a seriously easy xword. Lots of anagrams and no tricky words.
  36. Thought we were going to break the 20m with 2 to go. 1a and 4d. Took another 5 minutes to sort them out otherwise a nice puzzle. Tks Hurley and for the blog.
  37. I’m not a golfer, but I seem to remember that, some years ago, those who guard the rules of the sport (the R&A?) decided that a 4-under par on a hole would be called a CONDOR. Basically, a hole-in-1 on a par 5 will never happen, but if you receive a -1 handicap on such a hole and shoot a 2 then the handicap would take it down to a 1. They were asked to deliberate on this after someone carded such a score in a local comepetitiion.

    All proper golfers out there: please check my facts (I’m only going from memory).

  38. Usually struggle with this setter but no problems today. First day back at work so a gentle solve was most welcome.
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