Times Quick Cryptic 2644 by Hurley


Solving time: 7 minutes

A rare sub-10 minute solve for me these days since I allowed myself a little more time to admire the scenery. Prior to today I last achieved that on 26th March. Was it easy or was I simply on the setter’s wavelength for once? How did you all get on?

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 juxtaposition indicators unless there is a specific point that requires clarification.

1 Crass act? No! Strangely seen as beyond criticism (10)
Anagram [strangely] of CRASS ACT NO
7 Acknowledged love — married around November (5)
O (love), WED (married) containing [around] N (November – NATO)
8 Popular party tourist regularly within building (7)
IN (popular), DO (party), {t}O{u}R{i}S{t} [regularly]
10 Straightforward Irish county? Correct (9)
DOWN (Irish county), RIGHT (correct). Collins: downright – frank or straightforward; blunt e.g. downright speech
12 Some era — generally a long period (3)
Hidden in [some] {er}A GE{nerally}
13 Idea that’s unacceptable about island (6)
NOT ON (unacceptable) containing [about] I (island)
15 Fitting move downwards when son moves out (6)
DE{s}CENT (move downwards) [when son – s – moves out]
16 Left Old Boy, shy (3)
L (left),  OB (Old Boy). SOED: shy – throw or fling a missile. As one does at a fairground coconut shy.
17 Clued “bide” in new way that can be worked out? (9)
Anagram [in new way] of CLUED BIDE
20 With no Test experience? (7)
Barely cryptic with the surface reading suggesting a reference to cricket. EDIT: Thanks to Daniel for pointing out that thinking of test rugby rather than test cricket improves the cryptic reading of the clue.
22 Modify church table, reportedly (5)
Sounds like [reportedly] “altar” (church table)
23 Rudely having feature of shoe at edges, not lovely (10)
INSOLE (feature of shoe), N{o}T + L{ovel}Y [at edges]
1 Tendon — there’s something wrong we turned up (5)
SIN (something wrong), then WE reversed [turned up]
2 Crack a word code for oil source (9)
Anagram [crack] of A WORD CODE. The oil of the tree is used in the manufacture of soaps, perfumes, and insecticides.
3 Oscar, rugby player, outstanding (5)
O (Oscar), WING (rugby player)
4 Help from Shanghai donation in part (3)
Hidden [in part] {Shangh}AI D{onation}
5 Hard task including a learner in hymn tune (7)
CHORE (hard task) containing [including] A + L (learner). It’s a simple tune accompanied by mainly block harmonies.
6 Old bouncer resolved description of high quality cook (6,4)
Anagram [resolved] of OLD BOUNCER
9 “Very little in street” — hear Tom’s first girlfriend (10)
WEE (very little) contained by [in] ST (street), HEAR, T{om’s} [first]
11 Worker south of fortified area is incisive (9)
TRENCH (fortified area), ANT (worker). SOED: Of language, style, etc: incisive; vigorous and clear.
14 Letter from Greece put in container for Asian (7)
BETA (letter from Greece) contained by [put in] TIN (container)
18 Clever contrivance of Venetian magistrate restricting Duke (5)
DOGE (Venetian magistrate) containing [restricting] D (Duke) The highest official in the old Venetian Republic.
19 Club, extremely tacky, eccentric (5)
BAT (club), T{ack}Y [extremely]
21 African language? Is bang on initially (3)
I{s} + B{ang} + O{n} [initially]. I guess the question mark is intended to help the surface slightly as I can’t see any other possible reason for it.

77 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 2644 by Hurley”

  1. 14:01. Never thought of cedarwood for oil either although the wood does have a pleasant aroma.

    1. CEDARWOOD came readily to mind because I remember it as a range, or perhaps a brand name of men’s toiletries popular as gifts at Christmas etc. The name of the oil still features prominently on the labels of similar products now.

      1. Just remembered that ‘sandalwood’ was another popular fragrance although I don’t think it ever had its own range/brand name like CEDARWOOD.

      2. Where I used to live out in the country we had lots of cedar(Eastern White Cedar) on the property and used it for 8-foot fence poles and also for burning outside for barbecuing or bonfires. We wouldn’t burn it inside in winter as it was a poor source of heat and was very noisy and shot out many sparks. Our favourite use however was brushing a cedar bough over the nooks and crannies in the basement-corners, rafters etc-to gather up dust and cobwebs and leave the dank cavern smelling cedarfresh!

  2. 10:43 here. I was on track for breaking 10 minutes until CEDARWOOD took an age to figure out. I stopped looking for the part of the shoe after I saw SOLE, so was puzzled where the IN came from, until I came here.

    Thanks to Hurley and Jackkt.

  3. Thanks, jack. I found it on the more accessible side, too, and would have been close to a strong time for me if I’d just let the long anagrams wait on a couple crossers to help organise letters instead of trying to sort them out first go.

  4. I thought it was all very easy until I gave up on both CEDARWOOD and TRENCHANT, the latter word not one in my vocab. I think if I tried very hard I could have managed both given that CEDARWOOD was an anagram with a bunch of checkers and I got the ‘ant’ part of TRENCHANT, leaving me with a fortified area to look for.

  5. DNK the oil, but __WOOD was easy to complete. I biffed CORDON BLEU from the _L_U; never read the clue. altar/alter has been used rather a lot. 5:37.

  6. No major problems, 8.15, thanks to Jack for unpicking INSOLENTLY which I just biffed from seeing sole. The clues for a couple of these, eg SACROSANCT and SWEETHEART, looked scarier than they turned out to be which means points to Hurley. My FOI was INDOORS, LOI SWEETHEART, in fact all the longies around the perimeter held me up. Never thought of LOB and shy as being at all the same thing though I’m sure somebody will be able to point out the error of my ways.

    1. You may have a point about shy / LOB but both seem to have a variety of meanings according to context and I just assumed that in some circumstances they can mean the same thing.

      1. Yes, that was my reasoning exactly. It was only when Lyndsay queried it that I looked in dictionaries and found it harder to pin down as most of the definitions refer to the manner of throwing and that’s where the meanings appear to conflict at least to a degree.

        1. I was mainly thinking of how in cricket we invariably refer to a fielder having a shy at the stumps, which means a fast and aggressive throw. If someone were to lob the ball at the stumps they would very possibly be dropped for the next game. To me a shy is overarm, a lob is underarm, and there’s quite a difference.

          1. My thoughts too, but non-cricketers may be somewhat less precise in interchanging the two.

  7. Got through pretty quickly on this one, found it quite fun.
    Trusted the wordplay for CEDARWOOD, TRENCHANT, and DOWNTRIED, and had to assume that Venetian Magistrate meant DOGE since I couldn’t come up with any other alternative answers.

  8. I always like Hurley and this was a nice puzzle to kick off the week. All correctly ambled through with searching-for-a-lost-pen-down-the-side-of-the-sofa and more-coffee-needed breaks resulting in an overall 22 minute solve, so I’m pleased with that. I liked CHORALE, and TRENCHANT took me the longest.
    Thanks to Hurley and Jackkt

  9. I refused to enter UNTRIED on the first pass because I didn’t fancy the (as then unread) 6D to finish with U, but I needn’t have worried. A gentle start to the week cleared up in two straight passes through the clues, followed by the remaining LOI.

    TIME 3:38

  10. Nothing too testing today, but needed all the checkers for CEDARWOOD and learnt a new meaning for TRENCHANT.
    Started with CORDON BLEU and finished with INSOLENT in 6.40.
    Thanks to Jackkt

  11. 12:36 with full grid all green but no congratulations and unable to stop the clock!? ⏰⏰
    Any others got a glitch?
    Held up by the cedarwood and sweetheart. An enjoyable start to the week

    1. Congratulations!
      (Me too by the way)
      A nice gentle one – thanks to Jackkt and Hurley 👍

  12. I believe 20A is referring to test rugby not test cricket, which improves the crypric-ness of the clue somewhat

    1. Clever indeed, but a case of one step forward for getting a reference to tries in there, and two steps back for the mangling of the grammar IMO. To call someone “untried” because (presumably) they haven’t scored any tries is fairly awful.

  13. 5:21. Held up by stupidly writing in CORDON BLUE for 6D and then trying to make 23A be INNOCENTLY for a good 30s at the end before I saw INSOLENTLY. As for UNTRIED I just thought of “tried and tested” without needing to invoke a sporting meaning. Thanks Hurley and Jackkt.

  14. Just under 10 minutes. The longer ones round the periphery didn’t come straight away and once I had a few crossers, CORDON BLEU was a biff for me too.

    Thank goodness the ‘Irish county’ in 10a was ‘straightforward’; many of them aren’t.

    Thanks to Hurley and Jack

  15. Like others could not work out the rest of INSOLENTLY round SOLE. Biffed CEDARWOOD as not aware of the oil. Otherwise a fairly quick satisfying solve. COD SWEETHEART. Thanks Hurley and Jackkt

  16. 11:56 (Battle of Epiphany, off the coast of Islay, between Somerled and Godred the Black)

    Held up by the two intersecting anagrams, SACROSANCT and CEDARWOOD, which both required pen and paper. I’m another one unfamiliar with cederwood oil.

    Thanks Jack and Hurley

  17. SWEETHEART and TRENCHANT made me smile, found this on the easier end (guessed DODGE), 20 minutes with no missing clues was very good for me.

  18. Much enjoyed. Started well with a biffed CORDON BLEU which helped a lot. Pretty fast, in fact, until my LOsI INSOLENTLY, CEDARWOOD and SACROSANCT.
    I also needed all the checkers for SWEETHEART.
    Thanks vm, Jack.

  19. A gentle enough start to the week for me, all done in just over 8 minutes, with the learning point that one can get oil from Cedarwood as a bonus on the way (so that is why it smells so nice). Like some others I hesitated a bit over Untried, both because it seemed almost a non-clue and also because it left -L-U as the end of 6D, which looked most unpromising until the penny dropped (and Untried was thereby confirmed).

    Many thanks Jack for the bog

  20. 8:00

    Quitch says 80 at the moment which would have suggested a quicker time, but like Vinyl1, I found this somewhat difficult to break into, having only 3.5 answers after the first pass of acrosses. My anagram antennae certainly need sharpening – needed all of the checkers for SACROSANCT and didn’t spot CEDARWOOD for some while, ditto DEDUCIBLE.

    Thanks Jack and Hurley

  21. Took a while to sort out CEDARWOOD (not aware of it as an oil source), SWEETHEART and INSOLENTLY, but eventually sorted them out. A well pitched puzzle I thought.

  22. I found this pretty straightforward, and crossed the line in a fairly swift time (for me) of 7.45. Almost fell at the last as I was about to stop the clock when I realised I had omitted to solve 19dn. Fortunately I scanned the crossword and spotted it, and it added only a few seconds to my time.

  23. 9 minutes for me without any major delays. LOI INSOLENTLY required a couple of looks; and I did not know CEDARWOOD as a source of oil-I wanted to fit WELL in there somehow.
    Quite an easy puzzle for experienced solvers; FOI was IBO which shows how I have picked up crossword knowledge.

  24. 7:37

    Under 6’ with one left, even though CEDARWOOD had required writing out, but INSOLENTLY took an age.

    Thanks Jack and Hurley.

  25. 11mins…

    Fastest time for quite a while and hopefully a good start to the week. DNK “Ibo” for 21dn, but apart from a slight hesitation at 2dn “Cedarwood” and 23ac “Insolently”, the rest went in fairly straightforward.

    FOI – 1dn “Sinew”
    LOI – 23ac “Insolently”
    COD – 2dn “Cedarwood” – mainly for the misdirection.

    Thanks as usual!

  26. I experienced difficulty in getting started with this one. A few obscure clues for me.

    I needed Pumpa’s help with 18d and 11d.

    Can’t say I was neither impressed nor unimpressed with this QC. I found it to be grey.


    My verdict: 😑
    Pumpa’s verdict: 😼

  27. I found the QC acessible but not many of the clues were write ins and I needed checkers for the anagrams CORDON BLEU, CEDARWOOD and DEDUCIBLE. UNTRIED also went in from checkers and with a bit of a shrug. LOI in 7:17 was TRENCHANT.

  28. As I opened this after an indifferent night’s sleep and a busy morning, I thought gloomily “I bet I’m really going to struggle”. I should obviously do that more often because everything clicked as I read it and everything was solved first go. The result was a very rare (for me) foray into sub-5 territory for 04:58, a sub-K (and possibly my first ever sub-Johninterred!) and a Red Letter Day. Amazing.

    COD to CEDARWOOD for the sneaky definition.

    Many thanks Jack and Hurley.


  29. DNF as I could not see INSOLENTLY. It looked from the checkers like ‘innocently’ but of course that didn’t parse. 13 minutes up to that point.

    FOI – 8ac INDOORS
    LOI – DNF but would have been 23ac
    COD – 7ac OWNED – liked the surface

    Thanks to Hurley and Jack

  30. A good puzzle from Hurley, with a nice mix of clues. Like others, Cedarwood didn’t seem the most obvious source of oil, but it had to be. A steady solve thereafter until my last pair: CoD Trenchant and Insolently. Both took some time to see, with their pdms coming just in time for a sub-20 finish. Hopefully the start of a good solving week 🤫 Invariant

  31. A straightforward, yet not overly rapid solve for me today. Fairly standard from Hurley, I would say.

    I had trouble getting started, with only AGE and LOB in the grid when I started on the Down clues. They were more yielding, however, and I was able to pick up the pace for a while. I smiled when BATTY turned up and my LOI was INSOLENTLY.

    Mrs Random didn’t really get out of third gear today, doing just enough (25 minutes) to secure the family point. She may be my SWEETHEART, but she knows just how to pace her effort to ensure she retains any bragging rights.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Jack.

  32. SINEW was FOI but I didn’t get SACROSANCT until I had most of the crossers. INSOLENTLY took a moment or 2 and LOI, CEDARWOOD needed the letters writing out before I saw it. 7:44. Thanks Hurley and Jack.

  33. I haven’t had many good times lately but this was a clean sweep in 4:59

    Only UNTRIED made me hesitate as it seemed a weak clue and I didn’t like the U at the end of 6d, so I was relieved when CORDON BLEU confirmed it.

  34. 6m30s. Didn’t like UNTRIED. Still don’t, even with the rugby international interpretations. Otherwise a pleasant puzzle. Thanks all involved in setting and blogging.

  35. Like many it seems the idea of oil from cedar was a new one to me. Well, it turns out it’s quite easy to do. Soak pieces of cedar, preferably heartwood from mature trees, in a water-insoluble solvent. Then filter and distill – and you’ve got the oil!

  36. Got there easily within 30minute target, in fact found this relatively straightforward after last week’s poor performance

  37. 8:36 – absolutely smashed round it. 3rd fastest time ever, 2nd best of the year.

    Combo of having seen CHORALE and DOWNRIGHT recently, immediately getting UNTRIED, the 3-letter words being very kind. Yet I still had to get the pen&paper out for SACROSANCT plus to write out CEDARWOOD and SWEETHEART (LOI) checkers horizontally.

    This isn’t a complaint, but strangely it’s only the 3rd time I’ve been under 12mins all year. While I’ve been solving many in the 15-20min range – there don’t seem to have been many as ‘write-ins’.

  38. Faster than average for us but, at 11:40, a long way from being a PR. Like many, slow to see CEDARWOOD but TRENCHANT also caused difficulty. It was LOI INSOLENTLY that held us up the most though, partly through looking for something with edges of ShoE in. Nice clue. Thanks, Hurley and jackkt.

  39. Tired solve, and no time because of interruptions, but around 18 mins.

    Got stuck on trenchant at the end. Deducible looked odd in my head.
    COD insolently.

  40. 6.16 Very quick for me but I only just scraped onto the leaderboard so it must have been a gentle puzzle. CEDARWOOD and INSOLENTLY were the last two. Thanks Jack and Hurley.

  41. Funny how we all have different problems. I found this beautifully friendly, no problem with CEDARWOOD, but on the other hand given -N-O-E-T-Y I was blinded by the perfect fit INNOCENTLY and couldn’t see anything else – the clue didn’t suggest anything to me. Oh well!

  42. 4.32

    Rare sub-5 today helped by more (other) w/p and fewer anagrams and DDs

    DNK CEDARWOOD but that was an anagram even I could do

    Thanks Jackkt and Hurley

  43. Quinqereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir
    Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine
    With a cargo of ivory and apes and peacocks
    Sandalwood, cedarwood and sweet white wine.

  44. 15:33, not bad for me, surprising as I have a nasty cold (no eclipse viewing for me, alas!).

    Nothing much to add to the chorus, held up by the usuals. A little time was wasted thinking of Becky for Tom’s first girlfriend. 5D amused me since I spent a lot of Saturday afternoon acting out the clue. It was indeed a hard (but rewarding) task.

    Thanks Jack and Hurley!

  45. 15 mins finish despite a slow start with the across clues.
    LOI Trenchant
    COD Insolenty

    Thanks Hurley and Jack

  46. 17:24

    A nice start to the week. Easy enough to be well under my 20 minute target but sufficiently thought provoking not to be a biff fest. Held up with OWNED where I tried to work nov into the answer and LOI SINEW.

  47. After a few days in Berlin with a grandson eager to learn more German, I returned to a gentle and well-clued Hurley that took about 20 minutes – until I got stuck on 23 across. My first stab was immodestly, but Tibetan put paid to that. Much still to learn. But an enjoyable return to QC land. Thank you setter and blogger: v helpful.


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