Times Quick Cryptic 2311 by Hurley


Lots to enjoy here in this offering from Hurley. Apologies for the late appearance of the blog – mea culpa

The tone was set by 8a and not even a bit of self-directed ‘Aggressive behaviour’ induced by a few careless typos which sent me out to a time of 12:39 could spoil the enjoyment.  GOALIE was my pick of the day.

Thanks to Hurley

Definitions underlined in bold

8 Cleaner near sea in France, one seeking to please (7)
CHARMERCHAR (‘Cleaner’) followed by (‘near’) MER (‘sea in France’)

No MER for MER – a word well known from the Charles Trenet song even if you’ve forgotten your French

9 Bay window, old, that is embraced by right and left (5)
ORIELO (‘old’) IE (‘that is’, abbreviation for “id est”) contained in (’embraced by’) R L (‘right and left’)

If you can lay your hands on a copy of Archæologia XXIII. (1831) 114 (who knows, maybe online – I haven’t looked) you can find out all about the derivation of this sense of the word in an “exhaustive article” by a certain Mr. W. Hamper. Thanks OED.

10 Entitlement agreed (5)
RIGHT – Double definition
11 Aggressive behaviour at elevated level? (3,4)
AIR RAGE – Cryptic definition
12 Woman’s with copper, thin, very powerful (9)
HERCULEANHER (‘Woman’s’) CU (chemical symbol for ‘copper’) LEAN (‘thin’)
14 Cut Mike? That hurts! (3)
MOWM (‘Mike?’ in NATO phonetic alphabet) OW (‘That hurts!’)
16 Forgetting name, ring doctor (3)
RIGRING (‘ring’) deleting N (‘forgetting name’)
18 Get rid of trademark, being energetic person (9)
FIREBRANDFIRE (‘Get rid of’) BRAND (‘trademark’)
21 Note a ruler is very wet (7)
SOAKINGSO (‘Note’ in tonic sol-fa) A KING (‘a ruler’)
22 Covering grand, dear! (5)
GLOVEG (‘grand’) LOVE (‘dear!’)

Non-specific definition, but works OK for me

23 Edging, following stream (5)
FRILLF (‘following’) RILL (‘stream’)

RILL is one of those words for ‘stream’ which occasionally comes up in crosswords and even – surprise, surprise – in real life. I don’t remember ever having seen “runnel” in crosswords though. Now, there’s an idea…

24 Medley from Carmel, angelic (7)
MELANGE – Hidden in ‘CarMEL ANGElic’
1 Twenty outside church by river, it’s a very hot day (8)
SCORCHERSCORE (‘Twenty’) containing (‘outside’) CH (‘church’) next to (‘by’) R (‘river’)
2 Place for aircraft no good in sea fog (6)
HANGARNG (‘no good’) contained in (‘in’) HAAR (‘sea fog’)

Fret not fellow humble solvers, the wordplay was clear enough to enable us to avoid the “hanger” trap

3 Must shift stain (4)
SMUT – Anagram (‘shift’) of MUST
4 Speak about knight in flowery style (6)
ORNATEORATE (‘Speak’) containing (‘about’) N (‘knight’ in chess-speak)
5 Handle boron OK in new format after doubts initially (8)
DOORKNOB – Anagram (‘in new format’) of BORON OK following (‘after’) D (‘doubts initially’=first letter of ‘doubts’)
6 Days with siestas regularly — Royal Marines lay down weapons (6)
DISARMD (‘Days’) ISA (‘sIeStAs regularly’) RM (‘Royal Marines’)

A jolly good clue

7 Golf learner at first using English stick (4)
GLUEG (‘Golf’ in NATO phonetic alphabet) L (‘learner’) U (‘at first using’=first letter of ‘using’) E (‘English’)

Good misdirection, with ‘stick’ as a noun in the surface reading

13 In dishonest way, lay fur in slyly (8)
UNFAIRLY – Anagram (‘slyly’) of LAY FUR IN
15 Naive, “dye” and “die” we confused? (4-4)
WIDE-EYED – Anagram (‘confused’) of DYE DIE WE

Or even ‘Naïve’ if we’re being posh

17 Footballer, unusually agile, catching ball? (6)
GOALIE – Anagram (‘unusually’) of AGILE containing (‘catching’) O (‘ball’)

Or you could have the whole clue as the def. Semi &lit. Very good

19 Government, for example, involved in something frosty? (6)
REGIMEEG (‘for example’) contained in (‘involved in’) RIME (‘something frosty?’)
20 Area certain to have plenty (6)
ABOUNDA (‘Area’) BOUND (‘certain’)
21 Container for valuables — there’s a fee (just a little) (4)
SAFE – Hidden (‘(just a little)’) in ‘there’S A FEe’

Where’s Peter?

22 Impudence of female doubled in the end (4)
GALLGAL (‘female’) L (‘doubled in the end’=last letter L repeated)

68 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2311 by Hurley”

  1. Enjoyable puzzle which if I hadn’t fallen into the hangEr trap would have been a very good 21 mins for me. Never heard of Haar or Rill (23a). COD Disarm or Goalie. LOI Gall – wasted time looking for a girl’s name.

  2. 9 minutes. No problems here, but I noticed a few things that may be tricky for less-experienced solvers.

  3. I was going to say that not knowing HAAR would be more likely than putting in E for A, but then I’m not British. Anyway, I surprisingly remembered the fog. 4:59.

    1. I’m British, never heard of HAAR, went for HANGER. Probably somewhere in depths of my mind I know the correct spelling but I was struggling today. Spent 15+ mins thinking the place for aircraft is a runway 🙄

  4. “Fret not”? Ha! I see what you did there.
    I mean, of course you know that “fret” or “sea fret” is (Collins) “a wet mist or haze coming inland from the sea”!
    Not something likely to come up in a QC…

  5. Wish I’d done the downs first. Managed just three of the acrosses on first pass before romping through the downs. That made the second pass of acrosses much more fruitful. Still needed some tidying up time at the end though, ending up all green in 11. LOI was GALL, I always get thrown by answers where words with that don’t sound the same but are spelled the same – I can cope when it’s in the clues. Couldn’t have told you what an ORIEL was beforehand but kindly clued, once I’d dismissed ‘roeil’. Enjoyed seeing WIDE-EYED emerge. A cracking puzzle. M40 awaits.

  6. I think I’m the first one into to the SCC, so I’ll take the chair by the fire and a G&T please.

    Never even close to getting on the setter’s wavelength, and mislaid my anagramming hat, for a tough 26:04 with an error: I went for AIR RACE instead of AIR RAGE, but don’t feel bad about that since I’ve never seen either phrase IRL. Ho hum, onto tomorrow.

    Thanks to both Hurley & BletchleyReject (best alias here?)

  7. Got off to a good start with CHARMER and SCORCHER going straight in and found the bottom to be generally easier than the top.
    Ended up with three head scratchers that nearly took me over target – GALL, GLOVE and ORNATE, where I wasn’t familiar with the flowery definition – the wordplay was clear though so should have seen it sooner.
    Finished in 9.43 and particularly enjoyed the PDM for WIDE EYED, having initially read the clue with a sense of total bemusement.
    Thanks to BR for the blog and Hurley for an entertaining start to the day.

  8. 17 mins with a train/underground change so c.12mins with at least 2 of those minutes tempted to throw in the towel staring at my eventual LOIs GALL and GLOVE.

    A fair test – enjoyed GOALIE

    Thanks Hurley and BR

  9. 13ms for this nice puzzle of medium difficulty. Thankfully changed to Hangar when I actually looked at the clue. Held up for at least 2 mins on my LOIs glove/abound crossers where ai found ‘covering’ a bit loose. Nice blog too. Thanks all.

  10. I thought this was generally OK, but quite tricky in a couple of places. Fortunately one of these wasn’t Oriel – marriage to an architect (even one from Yorkshire) has its advantages from time to time ☺ Air Rage needed all the crossers before the pdm, but the real hold up for me was the Glove/Abound intersection. I’m still not convinced that bound by itself is a good fit for ‘sure’ without the ‘to’. Anyway, 25mins in total, with Gall pipping Firebrand for CoD. Invariant

    1. I think bound does work here, because one could say “the clue was bound to/sure to raise eyebrows”, so are not bound and sure doing exactly the same work?

      1. I have no trouble with sure for certain, with or without an accompanying ‘to’, but I don’t think bound by itself quite does the job.

        1. You are more experienced at crosswords than me, but are not bound to/sure to/certain to all exact synonyms, in which bound, sure and certain are interchangeable?

  11. All done, all parsed, no questions – so this is how the other half live! Well, not quite, as it still took me 8 minutes so how people solve in 2-3 minutes escapes me. LOI was Air rage, not a phrase I am familiar with (unlike road rage) and needed the checkers to be absolutely sure.

    Many thanks to BR for the blog

  12. I made no progress in the NW corner at first and so I started from the bottom and made much better progress. Some nice clues (many were very clever imo) plus some chewy offerings. A few MERs for me (as mentioned by others above). I was within my target with just AIR ?A?E left and, for the life of me, I couldn’t see it. I came back to it much later but by then the clock had moved on too far so it must count as a rare dnf.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  13. 11 minutes for me with at least two dedicated at the end to GALL and GLOVE.
    Glove= Covering is a bit of a stretch for me. And I needed GALL first.
    COD to GOALIE.
    Overall a good QC. It looks like most people managed to get GLOVE in the end.

  14. About 22:15 for the DNF – clock kept ticking until I eventually gave up and revealed the unspottable HANGeR error … NHO of HAAR which along with RIME, ORIEL, MELANGE didn’t make this at all easy. Maybe my brain was a little out of gear as I couldn’t even think of score for twenty, glue for stick. Yet GOALIE, ABOUND and SAFE all seemed to leap out of nowhere.

    Reached LOI of ORNATE at 19-mins, so the three-in-a-row SCC escape was still a possibility, and on reflection it was a good example of scaring yourself out of what you know as “flowery style” had me thinking I was looking for some kind of material or embroidery stitch that I wouldn’t know. But the starting OR- combination didn’t jump to mind.

    I thought I liked Hurley but I’ve DNFed on both their QCs this year, so I’m beginning to wonder!

    1. A tough one today, but you came very close to the hat-trick. HAAR is such an odd word. I was lucky to have come across it before.

      Many of the faster solvers seemed to find this tough. I usually struggle with Hurley, but I did think this was a very well crafted QC.

      Let battle recommence tomorrow!

      1. Indeed. Wasn’t to be but no disgrace to get to a DNF in 22-mins and tripped up by something I NHO.

        Hurley provided me with 5 of my 14 SCC escapes last year which is why I’m usually a fan. But I note there were also a couple of grids in August / Septembers where I had 5 and 4 clues left respectively. I feel it’s the mark of a good setter to be able to vary the difficulty especially given the nature of the QC.

  15. I was pretty speedy with this one finishing in6.21. Nothing held me up unduly, although I was grateful I didn’t misspell HANGAR which of late I have been prone to do. I knew of a haar as a sea fog so that helped. My only pause was with my LOI 11ac AIR RAGE, as I have never heard the term. It’s rather worrying if your pilot is suffering from it when you’re coming in to land I would have thought. 🫣

    1. I think the term is generally applied to those passengers who have over-indulged in Duty Frees and need to be removed from the plane in handcuffs. But you’re right, I wouldn’t want the driver of my plane to suffer from it!

  16. Oh dear, can’t spell HANGAR . NHO Haar, but Haer was dodgy too. Biffed Amount instead of ABOUND. Kind of makes sense as a mount is an area and an amount can mean plenty.
    Otherwise did OK. SCORCHER FOI then zipped through fairly quickly by my standards. LOsI were SMUT, RIGHT, GLOVE, GALL.
    AIR RAGE sprang to mind luckily. Liked HERCULEAN, GLUE, CHARMER, FIREBRAND, RIG. Cd not parse REGIME.
    Thanks vm, BR.

  17. CHARMER to FRILL, via a converted HANGER(after parsing the clue) in 6:46. Thanks Hurley and BR.

  18. Bit of a mess, with several blanks: ORNATE, ABOUND

    For GALL, the alphabet trawl had too many options, so was going with a final D (“doubled in the end”).

    Cannot believe I missed GLOVE, but I only had K and M for thousands. Even jotted down KLOVE.

    WIDE EYED good, but GOALIE COD.

  19. I’ve been printing the 15×15 of late and enjoying ambling slowly through them. I spent 30 mins on today’s and got stuck (temporarily, I hope) with about two thirds done. I came to the QC and – zing! 5:59 – a SCORCHER!
    Thanks Hurley and BR.

  20. No problems, though broke my little run of faster times.

    I think WIDE EYED was my COD, though I liked SCORCHER, mainly because I love the tabloidy phrase “Phew, what a scorcher”. ABOUND was my LOI, which went in with a slight shrug.


  21. Inside my target, though there was a brief interruption so the time is slightly inflated. No serious hold-ups otherwise, but I thought it was more than averagely tricky.

    TIME 4:45

  22. Hard. NHO HAAR, but knew where an aircraft is kept. Struggled with ABOUND and GLOVE (guessed from letters already in). I bet newcomers to the QC would stuggle with this.

  23. Turns out I don’t know how to spell HANGAR (I parsed the clue correctly but assumed that “haer” must be an alternative for “haar” … durr), and I also put GLEE for GLUE (taking “learner at first” to indicate LE, and assuming that a GLEE was an obscure sort of stick, probably the one used by Morris dancers to whack each other or something, double durr).

    A mute inglorious failure in 07:21. Next!

    Many thanks Hurley, and a witty blog from BR.


  24. Dnf…

    25 mins for everything apart from the 22ac “Glove”/22dn “Gall” intersection which just wouldn’t come.

    The rest of it I enjoyed, although I also hadn’t heard of “Haar” for sea fog.

    FOI – 8ac “Charmer”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 1dn “Scorcher” – although it felt like there were slim pickings.

    Thanks as usual!

      1. Based on my spreadsheet (with its ridiculously small population size of just two weeks), I have an 80% success rate 😕

        1. Well done for setting up a spreadsheet, Mr Ed46. It will grow and become more representative of your form. I think mine is now in its 138th week.

  25. Just inside my target 15 again today, but with a careless HANGER despite being intimately familiar with HAARS. Otherwise, a good puzzle. Thanks both.

  26. This seemed to go fairly smoothly so I was disappointed to discover it took 20:48. I was slightly surprised to find dishonesty equated with unfairness but that’s probably just me. Enjoyed some very clever clues and a great blog – I saw the clever Fret comment which made me smile. The haar, unfamiliar to quite a few, is commonly used in Scotland. Thanks Hurley and BR.

  27. Just eased into my usual corner chair in the club this morning but saw the seat by the fireplace already taken on this cold but sunny day. As it’s lunchtime I will have a sandwich with my coffee. Spent 4 or 5 minutes correcting usual fat finger faults and a bit of unscrambling.
    Thanks Hurley and Bletch.

    1. When I arrived in the SCC before you, I was somewhat aghast to see you’d reserved your spot with a beach towel. I think this is most off and certainly not the done thing! 😀

      1. A beach towel? A beach towel? That was my old school scarf. I am quite offended at your suggestion, implying some continental European deplorable practice. Furthermore, I believe I had arrived before you and left my scarf on my usual corner chair while visiting the facilities.

  28. I had NHO either HAAR or RIME but I knew how to spell HANGAR. (My son is a newly qualified commercial pilot who is about to start his Type rating with a well known budget airline; that helps with quite a lot of aviation terminology although it didn’t help me with AIR RAGE). RIME sounded like a word and it fitted with the checkers in REGIME. FOI CHARMER and LOI WIDE EYED in an acceptable 8:38.

    1. Guessing you never lived in Aberdeen? There seemed to be more days of haar than not.

  29. 11.43 This was going very well and then I spent four minutes on ABOUND, GLOVE and GALL. An enjoyable puzzle.

  30. And it was all going so well. 17 minutes gone. Only 5 clues left to solve. A possible SCC escape? No chance!
    I couldn’t solve any of my 5 remaining clues by anything other than brute force – alphabet trawling. I am embarrassed to admit that shines a harsh light on the glaring deficiencies in my crosswording skills, vocabulary and general brain power.

    The 5 trawled clues were GALL (which took around 5 minutes to find), the GLOVE/ABOUND pairing (approx. 15 minutes) and the ORNATE/AIR RAGE pairing (nearly 25 minutes). My trawl of __R _A_E took absolutely ages and produced 26 words for __R and 99 words for _A_E. Only 2,534 combinations to check through, then! My patience was being tested to its limit.
    Total time (eventually) = 61 minutes.

    Mrs Random rubbed salt into my wounds by arriving late, knocking off yesterday’s Mara in 18 minutes, going out to make both of us a cup of tea and then, on her return completing today’s puzzle in 17 minutes. All of this was achieved well before I had finished my alphabet trawling. That’s the way it goes here in the Random household.

    Many thanks to Hurley and BletchleyReject.

    1. Well done MrR – persevering to the last. Don’t think Hurley was too kind on the SCC today with some chewier defs thrown in there

      1. I do sometimes smash it (my PB is a scarcely believable 12 minutes), but sadly all too infrequently.

    2. Well done for doing, or setting out to do, a 3-letter alphabet trawl; you obviously have far more patience and persistence than I do. A 5×21 (give or take) or at most a 26×21 (again give or take) trawl is as much as I’m capable of doing and sometimes even a 1-letter trawl at the end of a tough puzzle seems too much.

      One of my New Year’s resolutions was “No more alphabet trawls”. You can imagine how long that lasted!

  31. I think I might be in for another roller coaster week – 8:50 yesterday for the quickie, but I couldn’t wrap my brain round the biggie! Today I started off really quite well, and got about 80% done in under 10 minutes, but then oh dear! I finished up at 16:30, with the last five on an alphabet trawl at 11a. But I did the biggie in about 40 minutes.
    It’s inevitable that whichever end of the alphabet I start at, the correct letters will be at the other end! I have seen AIR RAGE before, but it really didn’t click at the time. I often struggle with Hurley and don’t seem to be on his wavelength. TBH I found some of the surfaces today a bit clunky, but 17d GOALIE was a goodie.
    FOI Charmer LOI Air rage
    Thanks Hurley, and BR for an entertaining blog

    1. GOALIE was always going to be “a goodie” in my book, as well. Back in the day, I used to be one.

  32. 8/26. Might it be possible for the bloggers to not put any of the solutions in the introduction please? I always come here for inspiration when stuck, because the blogger will often say if it an easy QC or a tough one or middle-of-the-road. That will that encourage me to persevere, or give up. Seeing the solution to an unsolved clue today was therefore very disappointing. Thank you.

    1. Our policy on the introduction is that answers are not given in the short extract that appears on the front screen where the latest blogs are listed, but once you open a blog to view it you will see answers.

  33. 14:00

    Struggled with the acrosses on first pass but then the downs seemed much easier (apart from putting DEWY EYED for naive before realising the anagram didn’t quite work) and it quickly fell into place. LOI AIR RAGE.

  34. Like some of my fellow SCC members, I had hopes of a hat-trick of escapes. It wasn’t to be however as Hurley returned to his tormenting best.

    But I did thoroughly enjoy the challenge and wasn’t too disappointed to be around the 25 min mark. HAAR presented no problems, having sat through several at Scarborough Cricket Ground. DNK ORIEL, but the word play was kind. Some excellent misdirection throughout.

    PDM – SAFE
    COD – RIG (threw me for a while)

    Thanks for the great blog.

    1. Nice solve. RIG was one of my later ones in. MOW took a bit of cogitating to get it right. I do hate it when I can’t even spot the three letter words 😀

  35. Thanks L-Plates. Yes, MOW had me head scratching, although OW seems to have come up quite a lot lately.

  36. All went in relatively easily but just could not get 20d ABOUND so a dnf.
    For me bound for ‘certain’ and abound for ‘to have plenty’ don’t come easily.
    Good puzzle though.

  37. 11:33. Everything went in pretty smoothly, I guess GALL and MOW were the only ones I had to think over carefully.

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