Times Quick Cryptic 2291 by Hurley

Seasons greetings to you all and to Hurley who provided a good challenge – one which I completed in a whisker under ten minutes. Hitting target for my final (scheduled) blog was most satisfying.

The time has come to step back from blogging – but I will continue to enjoy this wonderful site by being involved with the comments. Jackkt, as ever reliable and helpful, informs me that this is my 443rd blog and that I started with QC #7 on March 18, 2014.

Good luck to the new bloggers and to all those attempting to escape the cosy clutches of the SCC.

So long – and thanks for all the posts.

Definitions are underlined in bold italics.

1 Betray twenty in Rome? (6-5)
DOUBLE-CROSS – twenty in Roman numerals is XX – two crosses. My FOI which helped greatly.
8 A waltz at last in gloomy darkness then a lively Polish dance (7)
MAZURKA – dnk mazurka – a traditional Polish dance in triple time. A (A), walt(Z) inside gloomy darkness (MURK) then a (A).
9 One educating from Timbuktu to Rwanda (5)
TUTOR – from Timbuk(TU TO R)wanda.
10 Nth gin she ordered — at one of these? (3,6)
HEN NIGHTS – anagram (ordered) of NTH GIN SHE.
12 First cardinal performing service at the end (3)
ONE – performing (ON – stage say?), servic(E).
13 Sensitivity I initially considered for manoeuvre (6)
TACTIC – sensitivity (TACT), I (I), (C)onsidered.
15 Trade group chat rottenly — on regular basis! (6)
CARTEL – (C)h(A)t (R)o(T)t(E)n(L)y.
17 Sense sign of hesitation about article (3)
EAR – a sense as in an ear for music. Sign of hesitation (ER) around article (A).
18 Northern Ireland vehicle, silver, by centre of quay in Republic (9)
NICARAGUA – Northern Ireland (NI), vehicle (CAR), silver (AG), q(UA)y.
20 Dance beat with energy (5)
TANGO – beat (TAN), energy (GO – full of life/go/vitality).
22 Adaptable using salt and ice in new way (7)
ELASTIC – anagram (using in a new way) of SALT ICE.
23 Tent, mine, let out? Right (11)
ENTITLEMENT – anagram (out) of TENT MINE LET.
1 Group sleep lightly before noon (5)
DOZEN – sleep lightly (DOZE) before noon (N).
2 UK wet weather — man’s language (9)
UKRAINIAN – UK (UK), wet weather (RAIN), man (IAN).
3 Detest swearword in French article (6)
LOATHE – SWEARWORD (OATH) inside French article (LE).
4 Snub portion (3)
CUT – double definition.
5 Released mail for border settlement (7)
OUTPOST – released (OUT e.g. from prison), mail (POST – not much about in the U.K. at the moment).
6 Close watch of criminal clan, evil? Sure (12)
SURVEILLANCE – anagram (criminal) of CLAN EVIL SURE.
7 A politician with impact, warmth, referring to arena for plays (12)
AMPHITHEATRE – a (A), politician (MP), impact (HIT), warmth (HEAT) referring to (RE). I initially biffed ampitheatre then had to work out why it wasn’t long enough and why it didn’t work.
11 Unexpectedly scariest, a way up (9)
STAIRCASE – anagram (unexpectedly) of A SCARIEST.
14 Company singer brought up crown (7)
CORONET – company (CO), singer – tenor – brought upwards (RONET).
16 Plan from school, English, supported by this compiler (6)
SCHEME – school (SCH), English (E), this compiler (ME).
19 Be reprimandeddo you understand? (3,2)
GET IT – double definition.
21 Choose section of top table (3)
OPT – section of t(OP T)able.


85 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2291 by Hurley”

  1. 14 minutes. Needed a few crossers before
    I could see DOUBLE -CROSS and didn’t know HEN NIGHTS, only hen parties. Farewell and thanks, Blogger Chris, hail and welcome ,Commenter Chris!

    1. Hen parties is why it flitted across my brain but didn’t rearrange into HEN-NIGHTS. These days it’s at least a HEN WEEKEND – if not a week in a foreign country.

  2. I biffed MAZURKA, AMPHITHEATRE (from AMP-), CORONET, NICARAGUA. Which helped me finish in 4:25.
    Thanks, Chris, for all those blogs (443!).

  3. 8:00 on the button. HEN NIGHTS was the highlight for me and I liked the appearance of the other two ‘dance(s)’. I knew MAZURKA from the Chopin works. Good to see IAN not clued by “Scot”.

    Thanks to Hurley and many thanks and a happy “retirement” to Chris after his many years of blogging.

  4. 8 minutes, no problems. Congrats and thanks on your retirement, Chris, your score of 443 QC blogs is a record unlikely ever to be surpassed!

  5. Nothing much to say about a straightforward puzzle, just thanks to Chris for so many great blogs.

  6. 8’47” for a fittingly strong puzzle on which Chris could bow out with a terrific blog, although I hate to point out that the anagram for STAIRCASE includes the ‘a’ of ‘scariest, a way up.’

    Some clever clueing for DOUBLE CROSS, NICARAGUA, AMPHITHEATRE and CARTEL and great anagram work for ENTITLEMENT and SURVEILLANCE.

    Thanks Hurley and Chris. Welcome to the throng, Chris. Happy commenting!

    1. There have been so many typos over the years that this seems appropriate! Blog updated. Thank you.

      1. Thanks, Chris, for your many blogs – all excellent. Your dextrous explanations are so concise, yet so clear.

  7. Very happy to be all finished and parsed in 8’21”, which is quick for me. Like Chris, DOUBLE CROSS came quickly, and then I was off with very few hold ups. I was briefly looking for an anagram of “mail for” to make the border settlement, but the crossers put me on the right path.

    Thanks to Hurley for the puzzle and to Chris for this blog and all the previous ones.

  8. 16 minutes so another quicky for me.
    No real problems along the way other than the NHO Polish dance, WP helped with that and the building of AMPHITHEATRE from WP added to my time.
    Favourite: DOUBLE CROSS

  9. A very good, enjoyable puzzle. A nice mix of clues and a good outcome for me at 12 mins.
    I worked around the grid clockwise and filled the odd gap in the helpful grid at the end. I always have to remember the ‘PH’ in AMPHITHEATRE and this answer was the key to quite a few including HEN NIGHTS and MAZURKA (which should have been a write-in for me). My COD was DOUBLE-CROSS which I entered and parsed later…… The other long answers around the perimeter seemed to click quickly for me.
    Thanks to Hurley and special thanks to Chris who has been one of my favourite bloggers for years. John M.

  10. I enjoyed DOUBLE CROSS when it arrived but I had to wait. Bit off form for anagrams today too, so HEN NIGHTS, STAIRCASE, ENTITLEMENT and even ELASTIC took longer than they should have. Had a brain freeze for TANGO when energy wasn’t E before finishing with MAZURKA which was unknown and caused me to have a brief, inexplicable panic about whether murk was murk or mirk. All green in 11.

  11. 7.20

    Bit slow on some of the anagrams (SURVEILLANCE in particular LOI).

    Liked HEN NIGHTS.

    443 is some effort, and always elegantly written. Thanks Chris!

  12. 12 mins but a pink square for GOT IT. I’ll make my case. When someone says “Got it?” They are asking “ Do you understand?” and that is how it appears ( With the question mark) in the clue. First part works in the past tense as well.

    COD HEN NIGHTS, I don’t usually look too close at the surface, but that’s a great one.

    I’m one of the new bloggers, starting Dec 27th. Thanks, Chris for the 443 blogs, that milestone is quite something.

    1. I agree about GOT IT, Merlin. That was my first answer but I ‘flipped a coin’ and went for GET IT. Not a good clue IMO and a small blot on this otherwise very giod puzzle. John

    2. 19dn. GOT IT fits the second part of the clue but I think ‘be’ is a problem in the first part – wouldn’t it need to be ‘was reprimanded’?

    3. My thinking was you can substitute it as “Do you get it?” but you wouldn’t say “Do you got it?”.

  13. Very happy to avoid the SCC for the 2nd day in a row. A host of fine clues, but the laurels go to 1ac. Took me a little while to work out 8ac and I puzzled over 1dn until realising that my spelling was at fault.

    Chris – I am so grateful to you for the excellent blogs you have given us. They are always informative and entertaining. Thanks also for the words of encouragement for those of us who usually inhabit the SCC. Sometimes we need it! Enjoy a well-earned retirement.


  14. A bit of a slow start but eventually got AMPHITHEATRE, although most of it’s offshoots still proved elusive. The PDM for COD DOUBLE-CROSS seemed to kick my brain into gear and the rest of the puzzle flowed smoothly until finishing with 12a where I thought the definition was ‘first’ and couldn’t make head or tail of why ONE was the answer.
    Crossed the line 7.27.
    Thanks to Chris for today and your previous 442 blogs which have been invaluable in helping me start to learn the secrets of cryptic crosswords

  15. Thanks to Chris for his marathon stint!

    Back in more familiar territory for me today – top end of target.

    Was held up a little bit by the mombled AZMURKA due to not reading the clue properly.

    DOUBLE CROSS was my favourite today, and TANGO my LOI.


  16. Thanks Chris for your excellent blogs! A very straightforward one to finish with: waltzed through it with no hold ups.

  17. Whizzed through this in just under 7 minutes, with only a slight query at Ear = sense, since explained by Chris’s blog. As the time suggests, no other hold-ups so not much to say other than thank you Chris for this and all your other blogs. We look forward though to your continued comments here as a “mere” backbencher!


  18. A high quality offering from Hurley with lots of excellent clues, I particularly liked HEN NIGHTS which was my LOI. Like Chris I failed initially to include the H in AMPHITHEATRE and was thinking the first part of 10ac had to be INN rather than HEN. I did at least finish inside my target at 9.23, although it seemed slower than that.
    Many thanks Chris for your excellent blogs over the years, and enjoy your time back in the pack!

  19. 15:26 … was absolutely flying down the bottom half barely reading the clues. Like Kevin (will I ever utter those words again?) immediately saw AMPHITHEATRE from AMP- and NICARAGUA. Like Chris (thank-you for all your blogs), I couldn’t initially spell AMPhITHEATRE! Unlike Kevin, I dredged MAZURKA from the depths after initially trying to put -POLKA in there.

    Anagrams of STAIRCASE and HEN-NIGHTS (even though the latter had imaged through my brain) held me up then I was left with UKRAINIAN (seen before and like), DOZEN, CUT, OUTPOST (LOI) and DOUBLE-CROSS. Have to say the latter left a bad taste as I couldn’t even parse postsolve. Maybe if it hadn’t been so intrinsic at 1A I would have been happier.

    Anyways pleased to bang out another and achieved my two monthly escapes from the SCC after a tough start to the month. Seven more opportunities available!

    1. Join the “Can’t Spell Amphitheatre Club” – I think quite a few of us were scratching our heads when we wrote it in and got to the end and went “ah…”

  20. An enjoyable puzzle with my TUTOR leading me through SURVEILLANCE to CROSS and CUT, at which point I got the DOUBLE. AMPHITHEATRE came up short until I remembered the extra H. As for Bletchleyreject, MAZURKA was a write in from many happy hours listening to and playing Chopin compositions. CARTEL preceded LOI, STAIRCASE. 6:58. Thanks Hurley and Chris, and thanks for all the blogs 🙂

  21. 8 minutes for me. LOI UKRAINIAN; I needed all the checkers for that.
    Did not parse TACTIC while solving, but otherwise everything was pretty smooth.
    COD to DOUBLE CROSS which went in late in my solve.
    Thanks Chris for all your blogs.

  22. Great puzzle for a newbie like me. Accessible yet chewy enough to make me feel a bit clever so thank you, Hurley. And thank you all bloggers for daily help in unlocking the secrets of this cryptic world.

    1. Welcome Charlotte … don’t be afraid to put your times up just because everybody else seems quick. I’ve had three over an hour this month 🙄 Normally results in much kvetching!

  23. I’ve always enjoyed your blogs, Chris, and offer you my thanks for all your hard work. Please stick around in the cheap seats!

    I found that very easy but ironically, having spent yesterday settling the lovely Ukrainian family we have been hosting this year into their new quarters, I entered ULRAINIAN. The result was a tragic pink square in a rare sub-5 of 04:59. WOE indeed.

    Thoroughly enjoyed DOUBLE CROSS. Many thanks Hurley and Chris.


  24. Not too difficult today but I just couldn’t get going. Eventually finished in just over 27 mins and suffered the dreaded pink with GOT IT. I’m hoping for better things tomorrow.

  25. Thank you Chris. 443 QC blogs is an amazing achievement and your retirement is truly deserved.
    As to the QC this was a genuine quickie starting with DOZEN and finishing with the NHO MAZURKA in 6:43.

  26. First ever finish for me in 24 minutes. It seemed to me to be on the easier end of puzzles, but that’s because I managed to finish😄

  27. 16 out of 24 completed today. So much easier than yesterday!

    Many thanks for the blogs, which are always very helpful.

  28. I chuckled as my FOI was 1A but spent too long trying to fit escalator into 11D- thanks to Chris for his many blogs! Thanks Hurley too – seemed to be on their wavelength this morning.

  29. I found this tricky, but was well satisfied to finish in reasonable time after a slow start. 1a looked daunting, but when, having already got 5d and 6d, I ditched BIT for CUT at 4d, CROSS looked possible, followed with the DOUBLE, and I was away.FOI TUTOR, LOI ELASTIC, COD a toss-up between 1a and STAIRCASE. I didn’t need Chris’s help on this, but thanks for the many past occasions when I did, and thanks Hur

  30. No problems with any of this, but no time as a lengthy interruption doing flight check-ins for a small group of friends messed me up. MAZURKA was from wordplay only, but easy enough to work out, and sounded ok. LOI OUTPOST.

    Many thanks Chris for all of your efforts, which inspired me as a newbie blogger a few years ago (along with Jackkt and a few others). I have no idea what my ‘score’ is, but 443 is a very impressive number. Good luck as a back-bencher, and please grace us with your comments as you can.

    1. Rotter, you are currently on 176. Other QC blogger ‘scores’ are readily available upon request at any time.

  31. Thanks Chris from me too! grateful for you making sense of things from time to time. Another quick time for me again- I wondered about ear but I suppose that works. Loved ‘Double Cross’ ! thanks again

  32. Just under 15 mins – a fast time for me! I’ve found a great new hobby thanks to this community so many, many thanks for all your blogs Chris. Didn’t parse DOUBLE CROSS, but everything else flew in. COD to GET IT. LOI CUT. Thanks Hurley – very enjoyable.

  33. I enjoyed this one. Some clues that really had me thinking, but the answers came sure and steady. No aids used.

    1. The 20-min threshold.

      There’s a link to the Glossary under Useful Links section which may come in useful

    2. If anything it’s a badge of honour for admirable commitment. It also shows a humorous side.

  34. Thank you, Chris, for all the 443 blogs!
    Had to abandon the puzzle with the DOUBLE CROSS (COD) unfinished but saw it immediately on return home.
    Lots of anagrams again.

  35. 29:54 so both a finish and a sub 30 for me.
    But it was a close thing with 16d Scheme holding out till the last minute (this compiler = me was a new one)
    Most unusually all the anagrams went in without pen and paper.
    Thank you Hurley and thank you very much Chris; for a newbie like me these blogs have been invaluable and encouraging.

      1. Thanks #50, yes it was. A good week so far but I expect there are some snakes waiting to send me sliding back to reality.
        And from my favourite telly programme: ‘Who is Number One?’

        1. We’re all prisoners here, you can check out any time but you can never leave!

          But who is #6?

  36. 12 mins…

    One where I benefitted from starting lower down in the grid once I’d got my first answer in. Overall, I thought this was a bit of a biff-fest and there were quite a few write ins before I’d even stated to parse them.

    FOI – 2dn “Ukrainian”
    LOI – 12ac “One”
    COD – 1ac “Double Cross” – seen this before, but it always makes me smile (as I usually forget)

    Thanks as usual and thanks to Chris for his great blogs!

    1. Good work James … must be at least 3 out of your last 4 escaping. That promised string of DNFs after your sub10 last Thursday has failed to appear 👍

  37. For the second time recently OATH is given as equivalent to SWEARWORD but I would have thought an oath would be composed of several words some of which might be called swearwords rather than an oath being a single swearword.

    1. While the oath involved in “taking” an oath consists of many words, on the other hand when you “utter” an oath it often is just one word.

    2. L-OATH / swearwood was only yesterday.

      I’m never sure whether this is intentional on the part of the Editor to help the less experienced or just how they fall.

      As curryowen says you take or swear an oath which consists of many words

  38. 7.15 today. Am in a tearing hurry so a very brief visit today, but suffice to say there was a lot to enjoy, and a couple of LOL moments. Good to see so many quick times and PBs, as well as some new names what a nice way for Chris to bow out.
    FOI (and an immediate contender for COD) Double cross LOI Opt COD Hen nights, because it made me really chuckle 😅
    Thanks Hurley for the fun, and many thanks to Chris for the excellent blogs and encouraging words over the last few years. Enjoy the crosswords without having to think about blogging!

  39. 5:03

    My quickest for a while – all seemed to fall into place a little worryingly!

    Thanks Hurley and Chris for your final blog

  40. 25:39

    Oh dear! Was struggling to make my target 20 minutes anyway but was completely stuck on SCHEME and LOI CARTEL for over 5 minutes.

  41. Many thanks Chris for the many many helpful blogs. They will be missed.
    Fun cluing and all done in about 20 minutes 😊

  42. I thought this another generous offering from another of the more tricky setters. A welcome walk through for a comfy chair in the SSC – I never rush at these as I prefer a winding-down solve towards the end of the day, or indeed night. NHO 8a Mazurka, but it seemed to fit (and I was lucky).
    FOI 1a Double Cross
    LOI 20a Tango – needed to see how this worked before entering
    COD probably 23a Entitlement, or maybe the chestnut 1a.
    Sad to see Chris retiring as a blogger as his contributions have always been top-drawer stuff, but having set the all-time record a chosen retirement is well deserved. Chris, I look forward to your contributions ‘from the floor’.

  43. Many thanks, Chris, for so many excellent blogs over the years, always very clear, entertaining and fair.

  44. Solved a day late, so I don’t suppose many will see this, but I am posting because I achieved a very rare SCC escape – 19 minutes.
    All fully parsed, except the excellent DOUBLE CROSS.
    NHO the Polish dance, but precise wordplay really helped.
    Many thanks to Hurley and, of course, to Chris for all of the help he has provided to this numbskull.

    1. Dear Mr R. I always enjoy your posts and wish you well in waving a fond and permanent farewell to that excellent institution – the SCC. Spurred on by Mrs R and the rest of the crew here, I’m sure you’ll be a sub-ten minuter sooner than you may think. All the best.

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