Times Quick Cryptic 2542 by Hurley


After two approachable puzzles in a row, I approached this with some apprehension, expecting the universe to try to get back in balance with a real stinker. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be very approachable, with no unknown vocabulary or general knowledge.

I finished in 10:09, well inside my target of 15:00, so I’m counting this one in the “wins” column.

Almost all of the acrosses went in on my first pass, with only SEAFRONT and ASPIRANT holding out. Then the downs were almost as accommodating, with everything except AUTHOR and MOUNTAINSIDE coming quickly.

COD: MAGPIE, with SHED a close second, just for being a triple definition.

Definitions underlined, synonyms in round brackets, wordplay in square brackets and deletions in strikethrough.

6 Popular party, otherwise not held outside (6)
INDOORIN (popular) + DO (party) + OR (otherwise).
7 Temporary pact in Greek cases (6)
ACTING – “pACT IN Greek” holds [cases] the answer.
9 Small, pale bird (4)
SWANS for small + WAN (pale)
10 Letters in order, bathe with pal at work (8)
ALPHABET – Anagram [at work] of BATHE + PAL.
11 Some whole gales expected — special language there (8)
LEGALESE – Hidden in [some] “whoLE GALES Expected”.
13 Beginning of sale — writing material to fall in price? (4)
SINK – First letter [beginning of] Sale + INK (writing material).
15 Far from abundant  incline (4)
LEAN – Double definition, the first being in the sense of “lean pickings”.
16 Despatched to welcome hairstyle in coastal area (8)
SEAFRONTSENT (despatched) containing [to welcome] AFRO (hairstyle).
18 Wannabe snake — I speak violently (8)
ASPIRANTASP (snake) + I + RANT (speak violently).
20 That lady would  get rid of  outbuilding (4)
SHED – A triple definition!

SHE’D (that lady would) is the only one needing explanation, I think.

21 Cheers advanced ability (6)
TALENTTA (cheers) + LENT (advanced).
22 Musician, old, is introduced to computer program (6)
OBOISTO (old) + IS in [introduced to] BOT (computer program).
1 Location unspecified when year changes (8)
ANYWHERE – Anagram [changes] of WHEN YEAR.
2 Strange man in tedious climb here? (12)
MOUNTAINSIDE – Anagram [strange] of MAN IN TEDIOUS.

I spent too long looking to fit an anagram of MAN inside a synonym for tedious, until I counted the letters of “in tedious”.

3 Hard to understand inclusion of prison in area ultimately lacking (6)
ARCANECAN (prison) inside AREa [ultimately lacking].

There seem to be two indicators for “put this in that” here, with “inclusion” and “in” treading on each others’ toes.

4 Extremely irate after politician collecting silver becomes hoarder (6)
MAGPIE – Outside letters [extremely] of IratE after AG (silver) in MP (politician).
5 Small weight university abandoned in the past (4)
ONCEOuNCE (small weight without U for university).
8 One doing wrong upsetting songsters? Rare? Not entirely (12)
TRANSGRESSOR – Anagram [upsetting] of SONGSTERS RARe [not entirely].
12 Take legal case against  girl (3)
SUE – Double definition
14 Regularly observed inbound sight maybe? Balderdash (8)
NONSENSE – Every other letter [regularly observed] of iNbOuNd + SENSE (sight, maybe).
16 With little confidence about eg worker’s song (6)
SHANTYSHY (with little confidence) containing [about] ANT (eg worker).
17 One writing there’s a universal God (6)
AUTHORA + U (universal, British film classification) + THOR (random god).
19 Fraudulent scheme? Clear off — not right! (4)
SCAMSCrAM (clear off without R for right).

73 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2542 by Hurley”

  1. 11:14

    The editors have looked upon me and thought, ‘That Tina person is having a lot of stress in her personal life, we’ll take it easy on the QC front this week’

    So you guys are welcome.

    All vocab I knew, no wine or religion or geography I didn’t know… Nothing arcane. I spent time parsing everything properly too.

    LOI TRANSGRESSOR, I spent a bit of time on ACTING until I saw it.

    I thought there was a rule about no more than 1 hidden clue? Or is that just for the 15×15?

      1. I’m not aware that the conventions for QCs differ from the 15×15 in any respect with regard to types of clue, as QCs are intended to be an initial step to tackling the main puzzle, at least for those who have aspirations in that direction. I would therefore expect the guidelines on hidden answers for both puzzle formats to be a max of one ‘pure’ and one ‘reverse’. Today’s has two ‘pure’ hiddens which is unusual.

        As for Jumbos, I don’t recall ever hearing of a different convention but it makes sense that more hidden answers would be allowed.

        1. I have a distinct (ish) memory of us–in fact, you and I–talking about hiddens in QCs (there had been 2); the next day’s QC had 3 hiddens.

    1. Tina – when will you be joining the ranks of our esteemed bloggers? You are putting me to shame with your sustained brilliance. Well done on another superb time.

      Don’t read about my own efforts. Less said, the better.

  2. The run of quicker times continued for me and everything seemed to go straight in today, giving me a new PB of 5.24. I managed to spot the hiddens and the anagrams pretty much immediately and there was nothing too challenging in terms of GK or vocab. So all up an enjoyable puzzle from Hurley and thanks to the Doof for the retrospective parsing. I had no problem with the ‘in’ in the ARCANE clue.

  3. 7 1/2 minutes. Not many delays along the way, though with LEAN for the ‘Far from abundant’ bit of the double def for 15a needing a few goes to eventually see and AUTHOR not being a cryptic def as I’d first thought.

    A not quite mini-theme; there’s a SHED, a SHANTY and a LEAN, but no TO.

    Thanks to Doofers and Hurley

    1. You’re down as a magnificent 2 minutes dead on the Quitch leaderboard – I logged back on to congratulate you!! (Mohn still beat you …)

  4. I completed all but one answer in 6 minutes but for some reason needed another 2 minutes to come up with TALENT at 21ac.

    I found I was logged out of TfTT this morning – a very rare occurrence for me. I can hardly remember the last time I had to log in.

  5. One wrong. I had SONG for SINK, since falling in price means can be a song, and a song is written material, and um, it fitted my checkers.


  6. After the euphoria of the past two days this morning I was defeated by TRANSGRESSOR and, the now very obvious, ACTING. Nonetheless, 2/3 still represents a good week for me so far.
    Thanks to Hurley and Doofers 👍

    1. I could have written your comment!

      I’m not so sure about “cases” as an indicator of a hidden, seems rather unfriendly to me.

      1. Yes, it’s a new one on me too. ‘Encases’ I guess? So obvious afterwards!
        Good luck tomorrow.

  7. Fast start but had problems finishing it off.
    The key for me was finally, having resorted to pen and paper, unravelling TRANSGRESSOR as the hidden ACTING then became obvious and it opened up the SE which had been putting up resistance.
    Finished in 7.37 with LOI OBOIST and NONSENSE unparsed.
    Thanks to Doofers for the blog and Hurley for an enjoyable solve.

  8. Took a while to see the hidden ACTING, but that gave me my LOI TRANSGRESSOR.

    V neat triple def SHED gets my COD.


    1. I think you’re taking this “class is permanent” thing too far now, could you please slow down again?

    2. My idea of “took a while” and yours are clearly very different. My whiles tend to be measured in minutes! Is a “while” definable as a specific percentage of overall solving time, perhaps? A research project for the TfTT scientific bods, surely.

      1. 🙂

        I was under 4 mins when I was left with ACTING and TRANSGRESSOR, maybe 3:50, so 45 seconds to get ACTING, and 5 to write in TRANSGRESSOR. ACTING therefore took 16% of the time I spent on the crossword, and only made up 4.3% of the clues. I reckon that counts as “a while”!

  9. An unpromising start, failing at the first two acrosses (INDOOR and LOI ACTING – I only cracked ACTING thanks to Kevin’s Law, that if you’ve tried everything else you’ve probably missed a hidden). But brisk business after that and I would have been sub-6 had it not been for a dog whining at my study door. Bad dog.

    I parsed OBOIST incorrectly, I now see – I was using the wrong O for “old” and so had O + IS inside OBT, which I assumed was an obscure operating system.

    Fun puzzle, many thanks Hurley and Doofers. All done in 06:16 for a sub-K and a Red Letter Day.


  10. I made exactly the same mis-parse of OBOIST as Templar: seeing the O-S in the middle led me astray, and since what I don’t know about computers is considerably more than what I do, OBT seemed entirely plausible as a program!

    Otherwise an enjoyable and relatively undemanding puzzle, done in just under 8 minutes. Many thanks Doofers for the blog.

  11. An early solve for me today, but fortunately the grey cells had warmed up sufficiently for me to cross the line in a good time (for me, at least). 29 minutes, but I got stuck for a while about halfway through.

    INDOOR was my FOI and ARCANE my last. Along the way I enjoyed ALPHABET, SEAFRONT and SHANTY, but never felt totally at ease with my ability to complete the grid successfully. I wonder if the unnerving trellis-grid style had anything to do with that.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Doofers.

    P.S. Mrs Random and I went to a recording of BBC Radio 4’s I’m SorryI Haven’t A Clue in Dorking on Monday evening. The inevitable letter from a certain Mrs Trellis of North Wales drew a loud cheer from the audience. Along with the delightful Samantha, she’s clearly one of the stars of the show. She comes in for significantly less stick than the teams (quite rightly) and the hapless Colin Sell.

  12. I couldn’t solve any of the first four across, but saw LEGALESE, then decided to actually try to parse the clues instead of staring at them. Four relatively brisk answers later and the top half was well under way.
    Overall however I somewhat wandered into the SCC with the brain slippage recurring; not paying attention, must try harder. Or at least, try to parse rather than waiting for the answer magically to write itself in. If time was a prerequisite to enjoyment for me I would have hated today, but it isn’t, so an ambling but pleasant solve. LEGALESE was a clever if obvious clue. Liked SHED, but show me a man who doesn’t…

  13. 14 minutes this morning, but I felt it should have been quicker. I also looked at the wrong O in OBOIST and failed to parse it properly until seeing Doofer’s version in the blog. LOI was ARCANE for no very good reason. Thanks Hurley and Doofers.

  14. I like Hurley’s puzzles, they are nearly always a fair test and usually take up most if not all of my target time. Today was certainly on the easier side for this setter in my opinion, at least as far as my time of 6.58 would confirm. This is my third consecutive solve under seven minutes, and I can’t help but think we’ll get a stinker shortly to redress the balance.

  15. Failed on ARCANE and TALENT. Otherwise OK.
    Liked MAGPIE, ASPIRANT, SINK, among others.
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  16. I also struggled with the first two before Swan and Alphabet started a good run of answers. A few too many biff then parse ones to ever feel comfortable, but a sub-20 still seemed possible. The parsing of Nonsense and Oboist (not App then), and an inexcusable hold up with loi Author, had other ideas and left me looking for a comfortable window seat near the driver. CoD to 16ac, Seafront, which fairly jumped out. Invariant

  17. 22.39 today, so an improvement on yesterday.

    However, I did have to resort to an anagram solver for TRANSGRESSOR, which I NEVER do, as I try to do everything in my head. I got the correct letters from the word play, but just couldn’t see the word. So maybe a technical DNF, but in my defence I am doing it in bed with a temperature of 39° having tested positive for Covid last night. 🤒

    So, all in all, not too bad for me! 😁

    1. I rarely get anagrams in my head, though I usually do try first. But writing the letters out in a random circle or pattern is the next best thing, and doesn’t count as cheating! When they are jumbled up one can often see a pattern that was obscure in the anagrist’s sequence.

  18. No problem with MOUNTAINSIDE or TRANSGRESSOR, but do have some MERs with the definitions. TALENT is not equivalent to mere “ability”; it’s innate or other special ability. (I suppose you can argue that it’s a kind of ability, just as trout is a kind of fish; so is that the thinking?) SHY is not lack of confidence; it’s timid, or uneasy in company. As one frequently engaged in ARCANE pursuits I dispute “hard to understand”; no, rather it means unusual and obscure. And “worker” so often = ANT, but here it’s “eg worker’s”; what is the point of eg and ‘s ? Sorry, Hurley; I usually enjoy your puzzles!

    1. I think you have to give Hurley some leeway with Shanty. Workers’ song would have suggested Ants, and worker song is gibberish, so it had to be worker’s song. I’m also fairly relaxed about shy/lacking confidence. The two seem synonymous to me.

    2. Worker is an example of ant, hence ‘eg’ – other examples are queens and soldiers. The apostrophe ‘s’ is an abbreviation of ‘is’ so the clue is to be read as With little confidence about eg worker is (a word meaning) song SH(ANT)Y.

    3. I must say that didn’t occur to me. I could imagine “an ant is an example of a worker”, so that “e.g. ant” to lead to worker, but not the reverse. However, you’re clearly right – thank you for clarifying it!
      I’m putting this here ‘cos we had a computer expert visiting today, sorting out all sorts of things, and now my identity here seems to have vanished…..

  19. Solved steadily, although taking some time to unravel MOUNTAINEER anagram and, LOI, to guess OBOIST, not being sufficiently computer aware to know that BOT is a program. (I claim old age and lack of interest as lame excuses.)

  20. I seem to be one of the few who really struggled with this one. After my 30 minutes cut off I still had 6 unsolved, of which 3 had all the checkers in place. One I was sure was OBOIST but couldn’t parse – the ‘wrong O’ problem as others have reported. Another was ACTING where I failed to spot the hidden as I didn’t read ‘cases’ as a verb. The third was ARCANE where I was mislead by ‘ultimately lacking’ into thinking I needed a letter g instead of missing the last letter of ‘area’.

    So overall I was totally undone by Hurley today. Well bowled sir!

  21. 12 minutes for me. A bit of a delay getting LOI OBOIST, but I thought of BOT and so parsed it.
    Nothing unfair I thought although the grid made it harder.

  22. A shocking day.

    27 mins was extremely disappointing. I missed many obvious ones and just wasn’t at the races. Too embarrassed to disclose my mishaps, but I will say that I struggle hugely with long anagrams. Either I see them immediately or I am groping about hoping for inspiration. That really set me back today.

    My brief visit to the realms of respectability has come to a shuddering halt. Each time I think I am getting better, reality strikes. Given the Snitch score, this should have been an ‘easy’ day.

    Just not good enough Gary, pull your socks up!

    PS Managed the Quintagram and was delighted with my approach to this as I got my mind in gear. Why can’t I do this when it matters with the QC? Baffling, frustrating and irritating!

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. I’ve been forced to “pull my socks up” so often that my toes are now poking through.

      1. Thanks flashman, I’ll try that. I normally look for a suffix or prefix, but that may be a better tactic.

  23. Putting “Aspiring” instead of “Aspirant” cost me the day. Author and Shanty so easy with the right crossers!

  24. 17 mins…

    Probably a good few minutes spent on 3dn “Arcane”, but other than that, a good steady solve with nothing too difficult.

    So far, I’ve completed three in a row this week. Fingers crossed to get a full house by Friday (it feels like a while since that has happened).

    FOI – 6ac “Indoor”
    LOI – 3dn “Arcane”
    COD – 17dn “Author”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Dear Mr Ed46,
      Be careful about wishing for “a full house”. In poker that’s three of one thing and two of another, so given that you already have three successes this week ……

    2. Would have roared through this if I could have dropped APP for computer program in 22a which also stopped my getting 17d

      Seafront my COD

  25. 7.44

    A smidgeon sluggish on this one, probably as I do like a checking first letter and there weren’t many of ‘em today.

    Did have to resort to writing down the letters for MOUNTAINSIDE but the answer jumped out as soon as I had. Good clue that one

    Thanks Hurley and Doofers

  26. Somewhat harder than the 2 previous puzzles this week, or maybe I was just being a bit dense this morning. Anyway 18 minutes with a couple unparsed. All fair and good fun though.

    FOI – 6ac INDOOR
    LOI – 7ac ACTING – completely failed to see the hidden until the very last
    COD – 18ac ASPIRANT

    Thanks to Hurley & Doofers.

  27. 7:02 but…

    …URGH! Two days running I’ve sausage-fingered an answer. Perhaps if the online app was a bit more intelligent and knew that I’d typed in ARCANE and it had somehow changed itself (!) to ARCARE, then I’d be happier about it. This doesn’t happen on paper! No issues other than that.

    Thanks Hurley and Doofers

  28. Came straight INDOORs to begin this one, but failed to see the hidden ACTING until I had all the crossers. (the ING I got from “IN (G)reek in the clue. Then wondered what sort of temporary pact could be A_T? Doh!). TRANSGRESSOR was biffed when I had some crossers. Like others, wasted time wondering what sort of program an OBT was, so thanks for the proper parsing. LOI was ARCANE. 9:43. Thanks Hurley and Doofers.

  29. Like others held up by TRANSGRESSOR and LOI ACTING. That ‘in’ saw me disregard th3 hidden early on. Could have done with the starting T. Still fast, ending up all green in 13.

  30. Nice puzzle making three finishes in a row this week.
    LOI: ACTING as I missed the hidden
    Could not parse 1a (never remember DO for party) or 22a (didn’t think of BOT) but they had to be the answer.
    Thanks Hurley and Doofers

  31. Zipped through until a breezeblock with LOI AUTHOR. Fixated on ‘god’ as definition – definitely a case of overthinking! Took a while to parse OBOIST falling into same trap as others. Liked the wordplay for MAGPIE and SHANTY. Had to write out the letters for MOUNTAINSIDE as I couldn’t get the ‘side’ bit. Enjoyable. Thanks all.

  32. 07:35
    Post Christmas party so a decent result.
    LOI anywhere.
    Liked scam and mountainside, COD anywhere.

    1. I’m impressed you managed a post Christmas party *before* Christmas 😉. Or was it left over from last year?

  33. 10:56 (battle of Glasbury. King Gruffydd ap Llewelyn defeats an army led by Leofgar, the warrior-bishop of Hereford)

    A steady solve with no real issues. LOI was ACTING.

    Thanks Doofers and Hurley

  34. I’ve had some lovely company on the leaderboard in the last few days. Today Kevin joins me (or more accurately I joined him). I also do the anagrams in my head. Not as fast the previous two days but still well within target. FOI INDOOR, LOI ACTING and COD to AUTHOR. 7:17

  35. 13.06 Unusually, I spotted the hidden LEGALESE immediately but LOI ACTING was a return to form. Apart from that and TRANSGRESSOR it was a steady solve. Thanks Doofers and Hurley.

  36. A late attempt for me as I’ve had rather a busy day.

    Completed without too much difficulty, though 16d had me scratching my head for so long that the cat eventually sauntered over and gave me the answer.

  37. DNF

    Dear me. Nothing too tricky here but just couldn’t fathom LOI ACTING. Super annoying to miss a hidden word.

  38. Another nice QC. Bit harder than the previous two, but finished and happily settled into the SCC. Thanks all

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