Times Quick Cryptic 2455 by Hurley

Hi everybody.

17a is my firm favourite today as I’m currently popping round daily to feed and cuddle a colleague’s two truly adorable animals.  9a and 4d sent me on a less happy train of thought, so I will turn my attention back to the here and now.

I took about 25% longer than average, which is unusual for me on a Monday.  I’ll be interested to see how you found it.

Thanks Hurley!

Definitions are underlined in the clues below.  In the explanations, quoted indicators are in italics and I’ve capitalised and emboldened letters which appear in the ANSWER.  For clarity, I omit most link words and some juxtaposition indicators.

1a One organising mother’s period in Dominica’s capital (10)
MASTERMIND MAS (mother’s) + TERM (period) + IN + Dominica’s first letter (capital)
8a Covered area in Hull, say, associated with island firm (7)
PORTICO PORT (Hull, say) next to (associated with) I (island) + CO (firm)
9a Anxious future maybe (5)
TENSE — A double definition, the second grammatical
10a Drops artist, trendy (4)
RAIN RA (artist) + IN (trendy)
11a Background‘s ripe edge, suspicious (8)
PEDIGREE RIPE EDGE, anagrammed (suspicious)
13a On radio, I’ll identify facial feature (6)
EYELID EYEL, which in the answer sounds like (on radio) I’ll, plus ID (identify)
14a Pressure leading favourite one controlled totally (6)
PUPPET P (pressure) + UP (leading) + PET (favourite)
17a After returning animal, I go, saying little (8)
TACITURN — On reversal (after returning), CAT (animal) + I + TURN (go)
19a Restricted by most unexpected surprise (4)
STUN — The answer is contained in (restricted by) moST UNexpected
21a Street urchin‘s advantage after Frenchman intervenes (5)
GAMIN GAIN (advantage) with M inside (after Frenchman intervenes); M = Monsieur
22a Closed? I’m disgusted — that is difficult question (7)
TOUGHIE TO (closed? – of a door) + UGH (I’m disgusted) + IE (that is)
23a Amusing exaggeration perhaps potentially accurate about Rhode Island? (10)
CARICATURE — An anagram of (potentially) ACCURATE around (about) RI (Rhode Island)
2d Maybe KLM tune policy (7)
AIRLINE AIR (tune) + LINE (policy)
3d One of pair, wife, in the money? (4)
TWIN W (wife) in TIN (the money?)
4d Greek island‘s ways to get around, they say (6)
RHODES — ROADS (ways to get around), homophone (they say)
5d Scheme in eg Turin I concocted (8)
INTRIGUE EG TURIN I anagrammed (concocted)
6d One giving party meeting refusal, resistance (5)
DONOR DO (party) next to (meeting) NO (refusal) + R (resistance)
7d Regret agent upset canteen (10)
REPENTANCE REP (agent) + an anagram of (upset) CANTEEN
8d Figure, recent, revised, put into sheet (10)
PERCENTAGE — An anagram of (… revised) RECENT put into PAGE (sheet)
12d Crossword in The Timesone that might bug you? (8)
LISTENER — Two definitions: The Listener crossword, and one using a bugging device.
I did not expect this to be a double definition and did not readily think of the right crossword even though I do them quite often.  A bit of a d’oh moment when it came!
15d Baseball player‘s liquid container (7)
PITCHER — Another double definition
16d Reviewer, regularly acerbic, based on time in charge (6)
CRITIC — Alternate letters of (regularly) aCeRbIc above (based on) T (time) + IC (in charge)
18d Funny cries of mirth in cinema at the outset? (5)
COMIC — Initial letters of (… at the outset) Cries Of Mirth In Cinema
20d Is obliged to Greek character on street (4)
MUST MU (Greek character) on ST (street)

64 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2455 by Hurley”

  1. 14:14 I was misled into thinking Amsterdam was the capital city wanted in 1 across until I realized it was a letter short and MASTERMIND finally came. I also thought “KLM tune” was the anagrist for 1 down meaning AIRLINE took longer than it should have. PEDIGREE was my third problem because I thought “ripe edge” meant it would start with R. TOUGHIE was my COD.

  2. I biffed TACITURN, and wondered at first why Kitty would like it. GAMIN and LISTENER took some time. 5:52.

  3. Not knowing there was a crossword called the LISTENER, and not twigging to that sense of bug, meant that about a quarter of my 10.39 was spent on 12d. The rest of it was fair and reasonable, with a few trickier ones thrown in like PEDIGREE, REPENTANCE and CARICATURE.

  4. 11:46. The usual first clue nerves meant I moved on from the NW corner of the grid and then progressed at no great pace through the rest of the puzzle. I had trouble with REPENTANCE, for which I kept trying to make ‘canteen’ the def and then LISTENER at the very end.

    Favourite was GAMIN with ‘Frenchman’ as part of the wordplay.

    Thanks to Kitty and Hurley

  5. 8 minutes. Nice to solve within my target 10 again after missing it on Thursday and Friday.

  6. Got off quickly with MASTERMIND but then slowed into a Pick and Mix. Biffed TOUGHIE from the likely IE ending. Clever clue. LOI LISTENER. Never have time or inclination for it.
    Coffee and croissant awaiting in the club after 24.20 finish.
    Thanks Kitty and setter.

    1. I hope you enjoyed the refreshments. The coffee was cold and the croissants had been devoured by the time I got there.

  7. Found all the long perimeter clues tricky which slowed me down as I missed out on lots of helpful starting letters.
    Chucked in TOUCHIE from the checkers and made a mental note to go back and parse it which I then forgot to do so ended up with a pink square – it’s been a while since I was undone by carelessness so I was probably due one.
    Thanks to Kitty.

  8. DNF, although I submitted in 5:24 to negate the couple I lost through typos last week. I needed Kitty to explain LISTENER which totally stumped me. And I took longer than I should have to see EYELID.
    COD PORTICO, since I’m off to Hull this morning, and won’t be back on here till Friday.

  9. Took way too long as today’s was indeed a toughie. NHO GAMIN, or LISTENER as a a crossword, but the rest were fair enough. I’m now running late…

  10. DNF, failed on LISTENER. (Is that a crossword in The Times? I have dimly heard of a Listener crossword but thought that it was in a magazine of that name.) [On edit: have now Googled and discovered that The Times took over after The Listener folded.] 10:28 for the rest. Found the top half considerably more tractable than the bottom.

    A Bad Day. Many thanks Kitty and Hurley.


  11. COD to TOUGHIE which sums up my travails in that lower section where TACITURN evaded me for too long despite me assuming the “tac…” start, and CARICATURE requiring a belated PDM. LISTENER didn’t go in until late on despite, in retrospect, seeing blindingly obvious, but I see I’m not the only one. The SCC regulars are unlikely to escape joining me today, I suspect, but kudos to those who do!

  12. I was misled in several places by our setter, including 1A, wondering what the capital of Dominica is (I’ve looked it up now – it’s Roseau). In fact I was held up by 3 of the 4 long periphery clues, with only CARICATURE coming immediately and REPENTANCE being my LOI. COD to TOUGHIE. Thanks Hurley and Kitty. 6:14.

  13. Took over average time for consistently 22a and enjoyable clues. FOI RAIN, LOI REPENTANCE, COD INTRIGUE . Thanks Hurley and Kitty..

  14. Finished this one, but thought it a TOUGHIE (LOI), as others said. Was slow to get going and eventually found CRITIC and COMIC as starters. Various biffs and anagrams then helped. Liked TACITURN, PORTICO, LISTENER. MASTERMIND was tricky. Thanks for much needed blog, Kitty.

  15. I started well and was engrossed enough to be surprised when I ended a minute over target. I agree with many comments above, not least that this was quite a TOUGHIE in parts. I thought EYEL-ID was weird.
    Some good clues and an interesting start to the week.
    Thanks, both. John M.

  16. A Heffalump solve today as I fell into most of the traps set by Hurley – capital of Dominica, tick, anagram of KLM tune, tick, anagram of Regret agent, tick tick (it even took me a while to realise it had one too many letters). But eventually all done and parsed in 14 for a good workout to start the week.

    The Listener is one of my favourite puzzles and I look at it every week. Not that I have a chance of completing it or even entering a single clue, but the instructions alone are worth the Saturday Times cover price. This week’s is, as LouWeed observes above, a classic of the genre – completely baffling!

    Many thanks Kitty for the blog

  17. 17 minutes and change for a poor start to the week for me, and that was after seeing MASTERMIND almost straightaway for FOI. Not that there was anything wrong with the crossword, I thought it was a cracker. Thanks Hurley and Kitty.

  18. Definitely a TOUGHIE for a Monday. MASTERMIND was a very late solve. I didn’t fully parse EYELID and GAMIN then LISTENER were my LOsI in 13 mins. I join others in thinking that The Listener is a separate publication. Thanks for the update Templar.

  19. I found this tricky but made reasonable progress until LOI, LISTENER. That caused me to overshoot my target. 11:33. Thanks Hurley and Kitty.

  20. Again failed six – and in an hour and a half – is this the ‘new normal’? But thanks, Kitty, for explaining all the lessons that have to be learnt ….
    NHO the LISTENER crossword – where in The (Saturday, Cedric?) Times is that found? PERCENTAGE: I am always defeated by a word that has to be ‘translated’ before being put into an anagram with another word – just too difficult. Otherwise, those that stumped me were PITCHER, EYELID, GAMIN (even though I just finished reading Les Miserables – shame on me) and STUN. DNK “restricted by” = “found in” – will learn.

    1. In a mixed word plus anagram answer, the letter order of the unprinted word (in this case, Page) is never changed, and since it had to be four letters long (and fortunately I already had Portico), it really couldn’t be anything other than page for sheet.

    2. The Listener is in the Review section of the printed Saturday Times. I don’t think it makes it to the online version – far too complicated!

      1. Thank you – found it! I never see that section of the paper – Mrs M gets that bit!

      2. The Listener is in the online version too – under “Specialist” in the puzzles section. Puzzle appears on Friday at 4 PM.

  21. Until I came here I hadn’t realised that Dominican republic (cap Santo Domingo) was distinct from Dominica (cap Rouseau as above.) Embarrassing!

  22. Well, Hurley seems to have set quite a high bar for the week. I had already crossed into the SCC by the time I was down to my final three: Pedigree, Repentance and Listener. I could see that 11ac was an anagram, but still, took ages to think of the right type of background – the double ‘e’ ending didn’t help when I was shuffling letters trying to make a word. However that at least made Repentance (more) obvious. Loi Listener was a pdm when I was on the point of pulling stumps with 30mins in sight. CoD to 21ac, Gamin, and my thanks to Kitty for a very clear blog and for parsing Toughie. Invariant

  23. I forgot to mention in my earlier comment that I didn’t like regret giving REPENTANCE. I think they are quite different concepts- regret being just a passive emotion while REPENTANCE is a behavioural action. Oh well, no one else seems to mind so I guess there is enough overlap in the meanings.

  24. 11:01

    Hurley is one of the setters that I seem to struggle with sometimes. My average against him/her for their last 15 grids is close to 10 minutes whereas my overall average against all setters is nearer to 8 minutes. I enjoy the challenge though.

    Usually, once enough checkers are in place, then it’s much easier to fill in the gaps. Reaching that point is the challenge, the first pass of all clues yielded only five answers – things improved after that and probably like several others, was left with the tricky-if-you’re-not-familiar-with-them LISTENER/GAMIN crossers to finish.

    Thanks Hurley and Kitty

  25. Round about my mean time, but this felt quite difficult while I was solving it.

    LISTENER LOI, I’d fat-fingered TACTIURN, which made it more difficult than it should have been. LISTENER also COD I think.


  26. TOUGHIE about summed it up for me as it did for others. At 7dn my LOI, I wasted over a minute trying to solve an anagram from the wrong letters, assuming I was after an alternative name for canteen. Fell over the line in 12.23, happy in the knowledge it was at least right and everything parsed.
    Perhaps I should have left it a while as I’ve just been watching Englands ladies (the Lionesses) beat Nigeria in a penalty shootout. I don’t think I was quite in the right frame of mind perhaps. Well done the girls for showing the England men’s team how to win a shootout.

  27. 15:15 (Thomas Wolsey becomes Cardinal and Lord Chancellor)

    Slowed down by getting used to a new pair of glasses, which currently give me double vision when reading.

    LOI was Listener. I never attempt the Listener crossword, and took a long time to remember its existence. Is there an equivalent of an “and lit” where the clue successfully describes itself?

    Thanks Kitty and Hurley

  28. The Listener used to be a weekly published by the BBC. It included transcripts from radio and Television programmes so was interesting and I enjoyed it. It also had a fiendish crossword which was subsumed into The Times when the Listener folded as already mentioned.

  29. 38.57 WOE. Worst result for months! Most clues sent me off in the wrong direction. GAMIN took an age to come to mind followed by last one in LISTENER. I had initially rejected the Times crossword named after a defunct magazine as a solution because OBSERVER didn’t fit. To cap it all off the kebab in 6d gave me a pink square. It’s been a busy weekend. Thanks to Kitty and Hurley.

  30. DNF on this one. I found it to be a QC of two halves. I did really well at first but came to a grinding halt.

    Never heard of GAMIN. Personally I think that is too obscure to be in a QC.

    I did enjoy this one to an extent, but eventually became a little discouraged and so gave up.

  31. I despair! Why don’t I set a cut-off time? It would save me such a lot of anguish. 24 minutes for the first 22 clues, but then another 48 minutes for my last two (LISTENER and GAMIN). Total time = 72 minutes.

    I have actually completed the LISTENER crossword a few times in the past, but only the mathematical ones. My rubbish crosswording ability, coupled with my inability even to understand the instructions, means that I never even look at that puzzle these days. No surprise, therefore, that I struggled to bring it to mind today. Once it came, it was only a matter of seconds before GAMIN appeared. M for Monsieur came soon enough, but GAIN for advantage stayed hidden and I had NHO GAMIN for street urchin.

    Mrs Random started her attempt well after me and finished around 20 minutes before me. She said she could understand why I was having trouble with 21a, but that she didn’t know why I was having problems with 12d. She told me to get a grip and went off to do something useful in the garden.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Kitty.

    1. Same issues but in a different timescale. The GAMIN/LISTENER combo held me up a lot at the end – I should be (and am!) very happy with 15 minutes. It was a good workout. Don’t despair – it all keeps the little grey cells jumping about. Sorry to hear you missed out on the croissants!

    2. I often feel like that when I’ve been stumped by the last two clues. I think you should focus on the positives today. Getting all but two in 24 mins was good going today.

      Let’s hope tomorrow is a little more kind to you.

  32. Slogged through this TOUGHIE. Quite a few of the clues were stressful for this permanent resident of the SCC.

  33. 30 mins…

    Of which 10 was spent pontificating over 12dn. I took a punt that “Listener” was indeed a crossword and luckily for me I was right. Overall though, I thought this was quite a work out for a Monday.

    Much to my amusement, I misread 2dn at first, and thought it had something to do with KLF and their “justified ancients of mu mu”. Alas, it was not to be.

    FOI – 1ac “Mastermind”
    LOI – 12dn “Listener”
    COD – 8dn “Percentage”

    Thanks as usual!

  34. Enjoyed this one and finished in 59 minutes. Nice mix of straightforward and difficult clues.
    COD to TOUGHIE which slowly unravelled itself.
    LOI was PUPPET which was nearly MUPPET which I would have felt like if I’d put that in.
    Thanks Hurley and Kitty.

  35. DNF today. Undone by LISTENER (doh). Found the rest fairly straightforward, although paused for some time over both TOUGHIE and PUPPET. I liked EYELID best but also enjoyed the surface for GAMIN. Often find Hurley tough – today no one exception. Thanks kitty.

  36. 14:37. A bit of a plod today. Nothing the matter with the crossword – just my brain on go-slow. Or so I thought: having read through the comments, I see that perhaps it wasn’t just me after all!
    Pleased to see the championships are back in action, but I don’t think I’ll be bothering them 😅
    FOI Portico LOI Puppet
    Thanks Hurley and Kitty

  37. Yet another DNF, foiled by LISTENER (didn’t occur to me, I don’t buy the printed newspaper) and GAMIN (NHO, and little chance of getting it without the N from ‘listener’). To be honest I’m not convinced that having those two cross each other was entirely reasonable, though that might be sour grapes on my part having made decent progress otherwise.

    Thank you for the blog!

  38. Took my time over this lovely puzzle. First period while waiting at the Surgery and then finished late afternoon in Costa after picking up a new prescription! A few unparsed eg toughie and a couple parsed once I had a word to fit!
    FOI 2d airline
    LOI 21a gamin – dredged from somewhere as looking right but not properly parsed
    COD 6d donor

  39. Enjoyed this one a lot, a good challenge. Fell into several of the same traps as others (anagram of KLM TUNE, anyone?), and had very few after my first pass, but luckily those few were the down clues in the bottom half & I was able to work my way back up the grid. Just avoided the SCC: 18:49.

    Thanks to Hurley & Kitty.

  40. NHO GAMIN or LISTENER crossword (dimly aware of it as a BBC publication). Despite this, I was able to make good progress and finished in 23 mins. Happy to take this given the difficulties many others experienced. I have had a decent run with Hurley, although I agree this was on the tough side.

    This set my up nicely for the Quintagram which took about 4 mins.

    Thanks for the blog Kitty.

  41. A busy day for me. Tried but failed to complete just now with the GAMIN/LISTENER combo stumping me too. Sometimes I’ll carry it over to the next day but on other times, as today, if I sense there is a word I have NHO then I give up ready for a new dawn tomorrow.

    I enjoyed the rest of it and it wouldn’t be a challenge if I always completed.
    Funnily enough I liked 9a TENSE, for its succinctness.

    Enjoyed PERCENTAGE and MASTERMIND when the penny dropped.

    Thanks Hurley and Kitty.

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