Times Quick Cryptic 911 by Hurley

I couldn’t quite believe how quickly these answers went in. With only 3 left the clock showed 5 minutes. I may have got overexcited as I ended up with 8 minutes. The hold up was in the SW – 12dn had to be ground out before 21ac and then loi 16ac went in. Great fun – thanks Hurley.


1. Footpath – it’s used by walkers. Anagram (re-order) OF TOP HAT.
5. Glut – oversupply. (G)oods (L)oss (U)psets (T)rader.
8. Nature reserve – protected area. Anagram (damaged) of RARE EVENT USER.
10. Evita – musical. Argentin(E VITA)lity.
11. Acolyte – supporter. (A) s(C)h(O)o(L) m(Y)r(T)l(E).
12. Speedy – fast moving. Agent (SPY) takes in European (E) editor (ED).
13. Census – a count of the nation. Homophone (from announcement) of understand (sense), our (US).
16. Cession – yielding of territory. Homophone (spoken of) meeting (session). The legislature will be ‘in session’ when meeting.
18. Court – double definition.
20. In one’s element – very happy. Anagram (to turn out) of MET ONLINE SEEN.
21. Grey – double definition. The first is the reforming prime minister. A member of the Whig Party, he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the primary architects of the Reform Act 1832. His government also saw the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. In addition to his political achievements, he has come to be associated with Earl Grey tea, named after him. The second is an all too familiar sign of ageing.
22. Reindeer – animals. Homophone (we’re told) of wet weather (rain) and costly (dear).


1. Fence – double definition.
2. Outline – give summary of. Unfashionable (OUT), policy (LINE).
3. Park-and-ride – facility for motorists. Anagram (mischievously) of PRANK ID DARE.
4. Tarzan – hero of books and films. Seaman (TAR), almost comical (ZAN)y.
6. Lorry – vehicle. Look (LO), right (R) on track (RY – railway line/track).
7. Theseus – mythical Greek character – seems he was a busy boy – a hero of Attica, noted for his many great deeds, among them the slaying of the Minotaur, the conquest of the Amazons, whose queen he married, and participation in the Calydonian hunt. Article (THE) Sue’s brought upwards (SEUS).
9. Smokescreen – it’s designed to mislead. Fume (SMOKE) over test for suitability (SCREEN).
12. Sacking – coarse cloth. Being negligent left out (S)l(ACKING).
14. Shut-eye – sleep. Second (S), building (HUT), homophone (overheard) of I (EYE).
15. Annexe – it’s added on. From Schum(ANN EXE)mplary.
17. Stole – double definition.
19. Tutor – teacher. Mild rebuke (TUT), over contents of w(OR)k.

23 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic 911 by Hurley”

  1. 10 minutes for this one, held up by the unfamilar CESSION and GREY, where I needed both checkers before I could think of him. With just the E in place the name PEEL had come to mind and I wasted time considering how this might fit the second part of the clue before eventually discounting him.

    Edited at 2017-09-05 04:47 am (UTC)

  2. The timer told me I had taken 1hr 37 mins, which is interesting as I started less than half an hour ago!
    I agree that it was a very gentle solve today – I might have approached a PB until I was held up in the SW corner.
  3. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and did this at 3:30am after Saturday’s Jumbo Cryptic(which I thought was tough). I was held up for a while with CESSION and GREY, but came in at 9:46. It didn’t feel too difficult. Thanks Hurley and Chris.
  4. Most of this went in pretty quickly, but I was slowed down at the end by then unknown 16a and my LOI 13a. Completed in 14 minutes.
  5. I found this pretty straightforward, although I needed all the checkers and a few moments thought for 9dn, my LOI. I think GREY is likely to require an above average GK, but maybe I underrate the average QC solver.
  6. I found this pretty straightforward, although I needed all the checkers and a few moments thought for 9dn, my LOI. I think that GREY requires more than average GK, although perhaps I underrate the average QC solver.
  7. Similar experience to others. It took me about 20 minutes to get down to three left in the SW. I had put Session in for 16a which was a major time-delaying error. Before I found my mistake I had tried to fit Peel and Eden in at 21a. Also I was slow to get Stole. As soon as I corrected 16a I got Sacking and then Grey.
    So, a puzzle that was easy to start and hard to finish. David
  8. 11:36 here, with the same problems others have mentioned, mostly not thinking of STOLE which held up the unknown CESSION and the unknown GREY (though I do like his tea, so I’m glad I know him now.)

    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  9. Just inside 10 minutes for me, which is what my old target used to be. I think that as the grey hairs have arrived, my times generally are slower, and I’m now happy with a time inside 15 minutes, so this was a nice surprise.

    Had to think twice for the usual suspects in the SW, but STOLE came to me quickly, which helped.

  10. 22:40 for me. I’m not the fastest of solvers, but I usually get there. For me, the NW corner went in nicely, and I was about half way through at 5 minutes. However, the SE and NE corners took a little longer.

    Looking on the (online) Times Puzzle Clubs leaderboard, I note that the top solvers are usually just under 2 minutes (faster than the fastest on here). Surely, you can’t even write them in this fast, can you? Are these just jokers, trying to beat the system (e.g. solving first untimed and then timing how quick they can add them), or are these times actually possible?

    1. It’s true there are (or have been in the past) some jokers who try to manipulate the league tables for their own ends (they’re termed ‘neutrinos’ in discussions on the subject), but there are enough familiar usernames at the top of the QC statistics to convince me that solving times between 2 and 3 minutes are possible, and in their cases are genuine.

      Among the reliable regulars to watch (for those interested in such matters) are Magoo (Times Crossword Champion for the last umpteen years), Topical Tim, and our own current bloggers, Verlaine and Mohn.

      Personally I very seldom look at the stats as to me the enjoyment of solving is more important than competing in a tiresome race. And I suspect that at the moment some of the top solvers are using the QC to practise navigating the new system for solving on-line and in due course will get fed up with a daily exercise that’s so simple to them and move on to something more demanding.

      Edited at 2017-09-05 05:31 pm (UTC)

      1. Indeed. Grubby, you may find it interesting taking a look at the Cracking the Cryptic series that’s recently started on YouTube. Each video shows an expert (Magoo, in today’s case, and possibly in all of them so far; I’ve only watched a few) solving the crossword in real time, with a commentary about the day’s solve overdubbed later.

        The video for today’s full-on cryptic lasts less than nine minutes, and should give you an idea of just how fast a top solver can bash through something much harder than the QC…

  11. At least I’ve learned today that PM Grey of tea fame is not one and the same as the Grey who said on the eve of the Great War, “the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”.
    1. His prophecy failed, but he didn’t enjoy them for too long after the war – he died in 1933
  12. Also on for a PB until grinding to a halt in the SW. I had “PITT”, for no longer young. Never heard of Grey, apart from the tea of course.

    1. whoops just spotted grubbygrubster’s comment and feel a chump not connecting South West with bottom left…..or is it right ? (Ed)
      1. Yes, you’re right. Might I suggest you open a (free) account with Live Journal? There are several advantages, one being that you would then be able to amend or even delete a posting if you wish.
  13. Found this very difficult- managed only 11 answers though I finished yesterday’s puzzle
    Very obscure and old fashioned eg 6 D – why is Lo look, Ry railway? Ok if you’ve been doing them for 40 years I suppose
    Cession?! Grey? In ones element?
    I always miss phrases with “ones because I never say it
    Hurley should stick to the 15 x 15s – I won’t waste my time anymore with his/ hers- try the fiendish Sodoku instead
  14. Please could someone explain the parsing of 13a? I got Census as it was a clear definition, and I understand ‘cens’ as. homophone of understand (sense) but how does a homophone of ‘our’ lead to ‘us’? Seems grammatically incorrect.
    1. The clue was “From announcement, understand our group count nationally” The definition is “count nationally” and the wordplay is CENS “sense” = understand ie homophone, as you say, and US (our group)

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