Times Quick Cryptic 2360 by Hurley


Solving time: 8 minutes

I hope you will find this quite straightforward. I think it’s somewhat easier than several we’ve had over the past couple of weeks, but please share your experience whatever it may be.

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 Unfortunately have canal fall (9)
Anagram [unfortunately] of HAVE CANAL
6 Treasure Margaret returned (3)
MEG (Margaret) reversed [returned]
8 Fence? Cross-country runner needs new start (7)
{h}ARRIER (cross-country runner) becomes BARRIER when given a new start
9 Open square — place with a couple of extreme characters (5)
PL (place), A, ZA (couple of extreme characters)
10 Perfume on its way, it’s said (5)
Sounds like [it’s said] “sent” (on its way)
12 Glassy substance — part of the name lacking (6)
Hidden in [part of] {th}E NAME L{acking}
14 Payment from earlier era holiday accommodation in France (3,3,7)
OLD AGE (from earlier era), PENSION (holiday accommodation in France)
16 Regular customer, Dad, right about cricket side (6)
PA (Dad), TR (right) reversed [about], ON (cricket side)
17 Greek island — Charlie seen with notes (5)
C (Charlie – NATO alphabet), RE + TE (notes – music)
19 Supply all pertinent information to lawyer (5)
I’ve indicated this as a double definition but they’re two sides of the same coin
20 English poised to alter instalment (7)
E (English), anagram [to alter] POISED
22 Label, strange, oddly ignored (3)
{s}T{r}A{n}G{e} [oddly ignored]
23 Formerly not drinking, wanderer inside becoming outgoing (9)
EX (formerly), then ROVER (wanderer) contained by [inside] TT (not drinking – teetotal)
1 Hazardous material? Most desirable to enter a call for help (8)
BEST (most desirable) contained by [to enter] A + SOS (call for help)
2 Song’s distinctive quality (3)
Two meanings
3 Fighter’s time in celebrity group (1-4)
Muhammad ALI’S (fighter’s), T (time)
4 Journalist, similar (13)
Two meanings
5 Give reasons why — in centrepiece of text, straightforward (7)
{t}EX{t} [centrepiece], PLAIN (straightforward)
6 Slyly give rep an unofficial information source (9)
Anagram [slyly] of GIVE REP AN
7 Average guy, limiting energy (4)
MAN (guy) containing [limiting] E (energy)
11 Charming conclusion, acquiring sensitivity to music (9)
ENDING (conclusion) containing [acquiring] EAR (sensitivity to music)
13 Natural home — this place, supported by National Trust (8)
IN (home), HERE (this place), NT (National Trust)
15 Blunder catching Irish animal, tall (7)
GAFFE (blunder) containing [catching] IR (Irish)
17 Material in Norwich I noted (5)
Hidden [in] {Norwi}CH I NO{ted}
18 Support Greek character, last to ascend to top (4)
BETA (Greek character) becomes ABET when the last letter ascends to the top
21 Love referring to mineral (3)
O (love), RE (referring to)

105 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2360 by Hurley”

  1. Try the main crossword today, folks. Pretty much as straightforward as this one, given the expected step-up in level of difficulty.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I enjoyed the 15sqd and managed it in 3x my QC time (under 40 mins) which is good for me. John M.

    2. I DNFed with one wrong – a spelling mistake of a word I don’t really know how to spell, never though to fully parse but also can’t really define, so can’t be a BIF either!!

  2. 9:46. I put in abut for ABET at first not thinking clearly (moving the t to the front gives you “tabu”? Yes, it does- so what!) Also got confused just seeing END as conclusion instead of ENDING while solving ENDEARING. Enjoyed A-LIST and EXTROVERT most.

      1. Thanks, LP, possible reason for my better than usual time explained in response to your post further down!

  3. 18:31. 1831 Great Reform Act extend the British voting franchise

    Felt like a poor time on what was a fairly standard QC. Was held up by OLD AGE PENSION, when that appeared the rest followed quickly.

    LOI GIRAFFE, where I was confused by “military language”, where the adjective follows the noun. “Animal, tall” . Quartermaster lists are full of “socks, grey ; shirt, long, etc”

    Day, clue of : PLAZA

  4. A relatively gentle but satisfying start to the week . LOI Pa-tr-on. I can’t see why ON=cricket side so please could someone explain?

    1. In cricket the ‘on’ side is behind the batsman as he stands at the wicket ready to receive the ball. It’s also called the ‘leg’ side, so you will meet ‘leg’ = ‘on’ and vice versa too. These turn up a lot in Times puzzles.

      1. Thanks very much – I got misdirected thinking side meant team and forgetting the other meaning

  5. I can’t remember anything about this one, but it definitely was easy for me, as I managed to get in just under 4 minutes; would have been quicker except for sloppy typing. I’m glad the O of EXTROVERT was a checker, as EXTRAVERT is also a possible spelling; not that it would have parsed, of course. 3:59.

  6. 7:37. A not too demanding way to start the week and all in without too much trouble though the unusual ‘animal, tall’ word order had me wondering what the def was for 15d too. ENAMEL didn’t come to mind immediately for ‘Glassy substance’ either, even though that’s exactly what it is.

    Favourite was the surface for GRAPEVINE.

    Thanks to Jack and Hurley

  7. Relatively gentle and got off to a flier with both of the 1s and many of their offshoots going straight in. My main problem was looking in the wrong place for the hidden in LOI ENAMEL. Until POI GRAPEVINE went in I was wondering whether ‘elacki’ might be an obscure glassy substance 🤦‍♂️.
    Finished in 7.10
    Thanks to Jack and Hurley

  8. Very fast start but hit the buffers at OLD AGE PENSION, where I thought I was looking for an obsolete currency and where the checkers fitted “pennies” for a long time. Arrggh. Also took forever to see BRIEF, which was annoying given that that is what I am.

    Eventually got there in 09:17 for 2.3K and a Poor Day.

    Many thanks Jack and Hurley.


  9. 9:21 but I missed a typo – GRAPEVIvE. The SW was the last slightly sticky patch.

  10. 6 mins but a DNF with ‘abut’ rushed in for ABET.

    Disappointing as it would have been nice, after last weeks travails, to get back to a relatively speedy solve of what was not necessarily an easy puzzle.

    I enjoyed CORRESPONDENT, PLAZA, EPISODE and grudgingly ABUT

    Thanks Hurley and Jackkt

    1. I almost rushed in with ABuT but, as I was slow anyway I took my time, failed to parse why ABET was correct and made a lucky guess as the clock would probably still be ticking now …

  11. A nice start to the week, foregoing my usual place in the QC SCC.
    Ulaca kindly flagged up today’s 15×15 as doable, which I am happy to confirm is the case, albeit I was firmly, but contentedly, in their SCC.

  12. 28.55

    Agree most of it was standard. But I got stuck in the SW particularly.

    Think there were a couple of non-standard things for QC … RT=right within PATRON; the letter shift of beta to ABET. We do see them occasionally but they slowed things enough to bother me I couldn’t parse them. And for me, I was also held up by the double defs of CORRESPONDENT and BRIEF.

    The eyesight / morning light and brain not in sync yet with the clocks going forward. Realise I did this at equivalent of last week’s 7am and while I’d been up for the better part of an hour, it was early for the body clock.


    1. For me clock change worked to my advantage. London is usually 5 hours ahead of me so I get puzzle at 7 PM and that time works as day’s travails mostly over and not yet too sleepy. However because we moved an hour forward a few weeks ahead of you (early March) puzzles those weeks didn’t appear till 8 pm over here. Too late- brain starting to shut down! So celebrated with faster time on this one. Also I think I do well Mondays generally because I tackle task in a positive mood after having been deprived of challenge since Friday ( Thursday evening for me!)

      1. There’s always John’s Saturday Specials every other week. Very highly recommended …

        1. Thanks, Cedric, I do enjoy working on the biweekly Specials, but I usually do them when they’re first posted. I think in future I should save them for Saturday or Sunday as they were intended!

  13. 14 mins…

    A welcome antidote to last week’s difficult start. Main hold up was unravelling 16ac “Patron” – with the clever “about” to significant the reversal of “rt”, rather than something going around. For a while I couldn’t work out why the “On” was at the end.

    FOI – 3dn “A List”
    LOI – 14ac “Old Age Pension”
    COD – 16ac “Patron”

    Thanks as usual!

  14. Gosh, that was fun. Nice and quick. LOsI A-LIST (unparsed), CRETE, GRAPEVINE.
    FOsI 1d , 1a, always an encouraging start.
    Maybe I will try the 15×15 after collecting the paper paper.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  15. A very friendly puzzle from Hurley, with just the occasional pause while getting the cryptic to match the biff and vice versa – I had a (tone deaf ?) earing for music in 11d. Correspondent and Old Age Pension were write ins, and they helped open up the grid for a satisfying 14min start to the week. CoD for the surface of 6d, Grapevine, an unpromising group of letters that somehow fell nicely into place. Invariant

  16. As James says, this was a welcome antidote to last week’s difficult start (and continuation…). A pleasure to have an actual Quick Cryptic.
    I had to undo a couple of half-hearted biffs but even then managed to finish 2 minutes under target at 13.01. Now to try the 15sqd.
    Thanks to Hurley and Jackkt. John M.

  17. Certainly easier than some from last week, but not without the odd hold-up. Took a while to associate Fall with Avalanche, and the clue for Brief hardly seems cryptic at all (and is Brief really a synonym for Lawyer, as a DD would require?). LOI Old Age Pension, where like Templar I was looking at Pennies and an obsolete currency for some time.

    With these to ponder over, took me 12 minutes in all. Many thanks to Jack for the blog and I shall now try the 15×15.


      1. Ah. Thank you. Didn’t know that – never met the term. And my father, mother and brother were/are all lawyers!

        1. You obviously don’t waste as much time watching police dramas on tv as we do🙂

    1. EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell has often called for his “breef”, a gentleman even more “Stoke-on-Trent” than him!

      1. Well, it is definitely something new learnt today- the joy of the QC (and more specifically TfTT)

          1. What? I guess I just assumed because he was bigger and seemed badder Grant was older. I have to wonder now if I was actually giving the show 100% attention.(I think I usually watched while simultaneously reading the newspaper. I remember concentrating more if Bianca was on-screen….).

  18. A second slower than Friday. I went through last week’s puzzles in a job lot, Friday first, then Monday through to Thursday, reading some of the comments as I went. They didn’t seem so bad to me – Monday’s Teazel was well over target, but the rest of the week was OK for me.

    Today I liked GRAPEVINE and GIRAFFE (which imo could have been improved by removing the unnecessary “tall”), and LOI was ABET.


  19. Quite a gentle offering today, solved steadily with just some hesitation over whether to put ABET or ABUT.

  20. I has to wait for the penny to drop in every clue.👍 But the pennies dropped quickly so I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle completing it in possibly record time (for me). OLD AGE PENSION took the longest and on 16,I saw the END and biffed the EARING. AsFOI ASBESTOS, LOI EXTROVERT, COD AVALANCHE. Thanks Hurley and Jack.

  21. Agree this seemed an easier test than recent QCs.
    Finished in 10 minutes after a very fast start. My last three held me up: GIRAFFE,BRIEF and ABET.
    I also had AGORA and ELACKI so needed some time en route to correct those.

    1. You’re not the only one Frankyanne! I was pleased to complete this in 45 minutes until I saw that this is over 11 Kevins. How can anyone complete the QC in less than 4 minutes? I’m in awe, it takes me longer than that to read the clues!

    2. I can assure you that you are not alone! I like to saunter anyway and use it as a wind-down time (‘tho, unusually early today!)

  22. Note so difficult, not so easy.
    A few hold ups worth pondering and parsing to get correct before knocking on the door at 25 minutes.
    Monday QC tick.
    Thanks Hurley et al

  23. 10 minutes for a satisfying start to the week. Little to add to the above comments except that I initially spelled CORRESPONDaNT wrongly, which slowed down LOI EPISODE. Stupid boy! Thanks both.

  24. Agree with Jackkt that this seems on the easier side today, certainly compared with one or two from last week. No real holdups for me crossing the line in 7.54. My LOI was ENAMEL, mainly because it was not something I’d think of instantly as a glassy substance, but also due to my inability to quickly discover a hidden.

  25. Easy enough. I took my time and made sure I’d avoided my recently resurfaced tendency to hit a wrong key.

    TIME 4:51

  26. 7:54. I could have been quicker but I like to look it over for typos before submitting. (I still get them sometimes though haha) No really classic clues but OLD AGE PENSION stands out. A pleasant mix of clear clues and helpful crossers.

  27. A gentle start to the week. From AVALANCHE to GRAPEVINE in 5:46. Thanks Hurley and Jack.

    1. Very well done. My first sub 4 minuter is still in the future – or more likely the never-never I suspect!

  28. Too distraught to say more than I thought I’d acheived my second ever sub-6 finish only to find I’d left ABET blank. That was after I’d tried to submit without have completed GEM – which I’d skipped over when Peg backwards wouldn’t work. Reversed from 97% complete the first time but somehow missed it the second. Agony.

  29. I didn’t find this as easy as some people obviously have, but for all that much easier than last week’s various disasters. I ended up with all solved and parsed in 19 minutes. Not helped by biffing ‘deposit’ at 20ac and having to re-work the anagram. I was also very slow to see CORRESPONDENT, one of several where I feel I should have done better.

    FOI – 6ac GEM

    Thanks to Hurley for a finely constructed QC and to Jack for the blog.

  30. Finished correctly in 30 minutes.
    Thank goodness for a (comparatively) easy one to start the week.

  31. Am I the only person to find the expression ‘old age pensioner’ (being one myself) a bit insulting in this PC era?

    ‘Retiree’ sound a lot less judgemental!

    1. Within the QC, there is no reference to “old age pensioner”. Your underlying point seems correct as these days, I can only recall the media or politicians referring to Private or State Pensions.

  32. 6:36

    Nothing too chewy here, though some missed on the first pass only went in once a checker or two had been entered.

    Thanks Hurley and Jack

    1. At last ! Well done Ian 🎆
      I’m sure this will be just the first of many more successful solves.

    2. Knew you’d get there! Hope it won’t be too long before there’s another on your trophy wall.

    3. Well done Ian 💥 Really pleased for you 👍

      The 15×15 is relatively easy by its standards today …

    4. Brilliant. As I was attempting this, I crossed my fingers that this would be the one to get you over the line. That is a just reward for your dogged persistence and I am so pleased for you.


    5. Well done Ian, very pleased for you and that you persevered
      You’re ahead of me this week thanks to ABUT instead of ABET.

  33. Finally out of the SCC – been stuck for a while. All done in around 15 mins today. Enjoyed ABET and PLAZA. Many thanks all.

  34. A very satisfying start to the week. Most of the clues went in on first pass, the exceptions being OLD AGE PENSION and my LOsI BRIEF (I failed to see the double definition) and ABET (narrowly avoiding abut). 7:07

  35. 15:30.

    Did not know the continental boarding house meaning of pension, but thankfully the crossing letters made it obvious.

  36. Easy enough and enjoyable, but I agonised a bit over 2dn. Of course, ‘AIR’ can be a song, but does it ever mean a ‘distinctive quality’? I wasn’t convinced, but wrote it in anyway as the answer couldn’t be anything else. I have since looked it up in the concise OED and it has only reinforced my doubts; one of the multiple definitions given for ‘AIR’ is ‘an impression of (a quality or manner)’; it is a long stretch from there to ‘distinctive quality’, and none of the other definitions are remotely close.

    1. I had a bit of an agonise over AIR but probably more because while I usually know it’s a tune (Air on the G String anyone?); my brain was undermining my confidence in it with ARIA.

    2. Collins Dictionary (available on-line free) is probably the best single reference for Times puzzles

      5. a distinctive quality
      6. a person’s distinctive appearance, manner, or bearing

      I’m a little surprised that the Oxford dictionaries don’t have this fully covered.

  37. 7.56 Quickest since December. OLD AGE PENSION was the first hold up. The PENSION went straight in but I had to come back for the OLD AGE. Last two in were BRIEF and GIRAFFE. Good fun.

  38. With 15 minutes on the clock and just four clues to solve it was all going so well and an infrequent SCC escape beckoned. Then it all went horribly wrong. Those four clues (ABET, PATRON, BRIEF and GIRAFFE) were all interlinked in the SW corner and it took me another 40 minutes (!) to get them all.

    I don’t know why I stuck at it – sheer bloody-mindedness, I suppose – but I couldn’t get away from D as last to ascend, and I just couldn’t see RT for right, BRIEF for lawyer or GAFFE for blunder. During that time, I filled nearly two sides of A4 paper with scribbled ideas, possibly part-words, alphabet trawls and the like. I did eventually get there, but it felt like the bad old days had returned. Total time = 55 minutes. Embarrassing!

    Many thanks to Hurley and Jack.

    1. Well done in the Mr Random and great perseverance shown. I only stick at these things because of the unthinkable of what it would do to the spreadsheet. I thought about that as I entered MEAN 😀

    2. I was there last week Mr R. It feels like you’re wading through treacle when that happens. The issue you had with right was similar to me with PL for Place last week. Just couldn’t see it. Small consolation I know, but you did finish.

  39. I agree this was unusually easy – most of it! Funny, none of you above comment on HARRIER which for me is NHO. My dictionary says “one who harries”, i.e. plunders, ravages, destroys, harasses – nothing about cross-country running. So, for “fence”, given B-R—R I put in BURGLAR, hence failed utterly with 3d. Am I allowed an MER?

    1. I’ve always understand (I have no personal experience) that a fence is someone who pays the burglar a (no doubt substantially) discounted price for the stolen item, rather than someone who committed the theft itself. So I’m sorry, but not even sure a mer would be called for.

      1. Prosecutors often charge burglars with handling stolen goods (‘fencing’) as an alternative, in case they can’t make the burglary charge stick.

      2. Fair enough – I’m sure you’re right. And it didn’t parse, anyway, so no excuse really.

    2. If you’ve ever watched the London Marathon, the pacemakers wear a distinctive black&white kit which is a nod to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers. That’s because its Race Director was Dave Bedford, former 10,000m world record holder and member of the SBH.

      There are many other running clubs called placename Harriers. To of the other renowned are Birchfield Harriers and Gateshead Harriers.

      Even with my running knowledge, it didn’t come immediately to me and I had to think of BARRIER before confirming the parsing.

      1. Thank you for that. I think my problem there is (a) I don’t watch TV (so NHO Dave Bedford or any ‘placename’ Harriers) and (b) my English is rather out of date, hence also my dictionaries. I wonder when HARRIER was first associated with running?

        1. For what it’s worth … a quick search brings up “The Springburn Harriers Club was instituted in 1893 as a general amateur athletic club, but concentrated on cross-country running. (‘Harrier’ is the name of a small beagle-like dog used for hare-coursing)”

          Also “Thames Valley Harriers is one of the UK’s longest-established and most successful athletics clubs. It was founded in 1887 [1][better source needed] by seven aspiring cross-country runners who used the ‘Peels’ coffee house in Richmond Road, West London as a base for their training runs. Christened the East Twickenham Harriers, the club flourished and to reflect its widening horizons took the name Thames Valley Harriers on 14 November 1890.”

          1. SOED has HARRIERS in this sense as dating from the late 19th century which ties in nicely with your findings. The definition is: cross-country runners as a group or club. L19. It seems to have been derived from the ancient ‘sport’ of hare-coursing.

  40. Pleased to escape the SCC today. After finding Hurley extremely tricky when I began, I seem to have found that elusive wavelength. Only brief struggle was with ENAMEL (annoyingly).

    The plaudits today however belong with Ian, who can now call himself a member of the SCC! 😊

    Many thanks for the blog. For once, I parsed every clue.

  41. Strangely, this is on the Times app today.

    4:50 to absolutely smash my PB – ie not very challenging!

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