Times Quick Cryptic No 1249 by Hurley

Like Mara’s puzzle on Wednesday, we have one for anagram fans today, with no less than 5 bits of unscrambling to do – and I failed solve any of them at first glance. In fact I failed to solve lots of the clues at first glance, getting only a handful of across answers on my first read through. Like yesterday’s, a bit on the tricky side overall, then, if my experience is anything to go by, although there are plenty of easier clues to get you going. In addition to the testing anagrams we have a lovely deceptive hidden word at 12d and I needed all the crossers for the cryptic 7d, my last one in. Lots of great clues. I’ll opt for the thrilling 8a as my COD. Thanks, Hurley! How did you all like it? Oh, and as this is my last blog of the year, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, when it comes, to you all.
P.S. Well it is nearly Christmas, so here is my current favourite Christmas Cracker joke…. How do you think the unthinkable? Answer at the end of the blog.

Definitions underlined in italics, (ABC)* indicating anagram of ABC, {} deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Sad as purr goes becoming affected scorn (4,6)
SOUR GRAPES – (as purr goes)* [sad]. A putting down or expression of disdain about something that one desires but cannot have, as originated in “The Fox and the Grapes,” one of Aesop’s Fables. Like me declaring the life of a knight errant (q.v.) is not all it’s cracked up to be, for example.
8 Opening for French teacher on way back with relative — a thrill (7)
FRISSON –  Pas d’enseignants ici… This is [Opening for] F{rench} RIS (SIR – teacher, reversed) SON (relative). That gave me a shiver down my spine.
9 Writer Mark’s time alongside farm cart (5)
TWAIN – T (time) WAIN (farm cart)… as in this Constable painting. As all of you who have deciphered my blogging name here will realise, Dedham Vale is not far from home for me – time I visited it again.
10 Neat extract from poet, Rimbaud (4)
TRIM – Hidden in [extract from] poeT RIMbaud. Luckily we don’t need to be able to quote the works of the poet to solve this clue. I say we. Of course you are all more knowledgable than me aren’t you – I haven’t read anything he wrote. I foresee an admonishment from Kevin for that.
11 Poetry lover maybe ate these, cooked (8)
AESTHETE – The ‘maybe’ indicating a definition by example – other art forms may be appreciated by an aesthete. (ate these)* [cooked]. Might this poetry lover be a fan of the aforementioned Trimbaud? And is his poetry considered aesthetic? I feel the need for enlightenment. Any volunteers?
13 Little hesitation with tirade straying from standards (6)
ERRANT – ER (little hesitation) RANT (tirade). I would be errant, and rightly chastised, if I failed to explain the answers to these clues properly. But in olden times I might have aspired to the lifestyle of a knight errant in search of adventures in pursuit of courtly love.
14 Agree Conservative needs to meet unpleasant guy (6)
CONCUR – CON (Conservative) CUR (unpleasant guy). To negotiate a Brexit deal, perhaps?
17 Boat sure to be damaged by him? (8)
SABOTEUR – (boat sure)* [to be damaged]. How do you sabotage a boat? If you must know, read here.
19 On return, exclude a horse (4)
ARAB – BAR (exclude) A, all reversed [on return]. But if you had winnings from it you would surely need to declare it to HMRC. [Edit: Apparently not. So the surface reading is quite correct! See the comments below]. Crumbs! Not done my tax return for 2017-18 yet.
21 Knowing a type of pottery (5)
AWARE – A WARE (type of pottery). Like someone from Stoke-on-Trent, perhaps?
22 Wrath surrounding old scold for period (4,3)
IRON AGE – I was looking for R— AGE initially, but it’s O (old) NAG (scold) inside IRE (wrath) [surrounding].
23 At work, he’d unearth recruitment agent (10)
HEADHUNTER – (he’d unearth)* [at work]. Nice one. Hunt the headhunter.

2 Actor’s fruit not finished? That is right (7)
OLIVIER – OLIV{e} (fruit not finished) I.E. (that is) R (right). As in Lord Olivier. Is it really nearly 30 years since he died?
3 Show signs of age in game on street (4)
RUST – RU (Rugby Union – game) ST (street). RU for game comes up a lot in crosswords, so that’s worth remembering. I used to be a corrosion engineer so I used to know all about this
4 Forest worker phoned leading lady? (6)
RANGER – RANG (phoned) ER (Her Majesty – our leading lady). Not to be confused with RANGA, which my red-haired daughter might be called if she were to visit Australia.
5 Formal request from favourite encountering opposition — not half! (8)
PETITION – PET (favourite) {oppos}ITION (not half). Please add some polite comments on my blog. Is that formal enough?
6 Obscure position of quiet cadet avoiding outsiders (5)
SHADE – SH (quiet) cADEt (avoiding outside letters). Hiding in the shade. I like the surface.
7 Not to be used for personal cover? (10)
UNWEARABLE – Cryptic definition. My last one in. A bit devious for a QC, perhaps? No the answer isn’t anything to do with insurance.
8 Ref had stay arranged for celebration (7,3)
FATHERS DAY – (ref had stay)* [arranged]. The one day when I don’t have to cook the Sunday dinner.
12 Something disliked, marijuana the man’s got inside (8)
ANATHEMA – A second hidden.. in marijuANA THE MAn [got inside]. The way to get drugs inside a prison these days is to use a drone.
15 Charge to drink in Irish city — a good wine ultimately (7)
CORKAGE – CORK (Irish city) A G (good) winE (last letter – ultimately). A charge made by a restaurant or hotel for serving wine that has been brought in by a customer. And did you know that, if you bring your own cake, for e.g. for a birthday celebration, you can be charged a cakeage fee?
16 After play on words, is husband fine, say? (6)
PUNISH – Another definition by example. PUN (play on words) IS H (husband). Crikey! Can I get fined by my wife if put puns in my blog?
18 Seaside tree, by sound of it (5)
BEACH – sounds like BEECH (tree). Not the sort of tree I associate with a sandy lagoon. Palm trees would be more like it.
20 Initially the operatives work near urban area (4)
TOWN – Initial letters of The Operatives Work Near. Please don’t leave your roadworks blocking the road over Christmas

And the answer to the Christmas Cracker question?
With an ithberg, of course!

30 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 1249 by Hurley”

  1. If I recall correctly, which I seldom do, I zipped through the acrosses up to AWARE, then had to proceed at a more leisurely pace. The pace got really leisurely with LOI WEARABLE. I read some Rimbaud ages ago, maybe in high school, definitely in college, but can’t cite you anything. Leonardo DiCaprio played him, opposite David Thewlis’s Verlaine–they were lovers for a while, didn’t end well–in ‘Total Eclipse’. 7:13.
  2. 9 minutes. Ref 19ac, the surface reading of the clue is spot on. In the UK gambling wins are not subject to tax and should be excluded from winners’ tax returns.
    1. Thanks. I should have known that about gambling wins and tax. But if you own a horse and it wins a race? I thought I’d look it up. I found this…

      ” Income tax does not have to be paid to HMRC when owning a racehorse on the basis that it is a hobby and for pleasure. This means that prize winnings are tax free however, there is no income tax relief available for buying the horse or any of its training costs. Racehorses tend to cost more in training and in keep than they ever earn in winnings so people are more likely to be paying for the cost from their main earnings that have already been taxed. “ and

      “The basis on which winnings and losses from owning a racehorse are not taxable is because it can never be a venture entered into with a realistic expectation of profit, and so is more likely to generate a loss than a profit. Disallowing all losses whilst not taxing profits is more economical for the Treasury.”

      Edited at 2018-12-21 05:59 am (UTC)

  3. I found this hard today. Almost nothing on the first pass, just TRIM and HEADHUNTER I think and then the downs didn’t exactly fly in. So this one was built from the bottom. AWARE and WEARABLE were LOIs and both needed alphabet trawls – if W wasn’t so far down the alphabet perhaps this wouldn’t have been my first over 20 of the week. Really don’t think I could have gone any faster. Good puzzle, good blog. See you all on Monday after my usual detour via Saturday’s Telegraph prize puzzle.
  4. In 4d, I found Show signs of age in gamE ON Street (EONS), and happily chucked this in as a sign of age.

    Naturally, took me bloody (a)eons to notice my mistake. I then looked up the difference between aeons and eons and apparently eons is the American spelling – so as a Brit I feel compelled to show my support for the land of the free, if only to make my mistake slightly more palatable :S

    1. I did the same. Managed to correct it but it definitely cost some head-scratching as I was convinced eons was right (it was written right there!)…..
      1. Bad luck. I sometimes make mistakes like this too. But your answer, whilst ingenious… and surely not a deliberate trap by the setter, doesn’t quite work. When I’m not quite sure of an answer, one thing I do is check to see how every word in the clue counts. In this case its ‘signs of’ which is unaccounted for. Interestingly, your answer, in the singular, would have been perfect for “Show age in game on street(3)”.
        1. Yes, I saw that when I went back to it when the other clues wouldn’t fit. I have been trying to speed up a bit since I can now (pretty much) finish the QC every day (a relatively recent occurrence), but I’m finding that’s leading to more mistakes such as this. The problem was that I hadn’t read it properly in the first instance and then moved on assuming it was correct. My old physics teacher used to passionately extol the virtues of reading the question properly and it seems I need to re-learn old lessons!
  5. 19:02 on the clock today. After 15 minutes I had all but UNWEARABLE.I put that in after about 17 minutes but the machine wasn’t happy with me. It turned out I had mistyped PUNISH. I liked Corkage.
    Nice puzzle and blog. Thanks for the cracker joke.
    We managed to have our pre Christmas golf game on Wednesday thanks to USGA specification greens and good irrigation on a fairly recently built course. Amazing, considering how much rain we had experienced.
  6. I’ll never get my head round the differences in solution times … yesterday just under an hour and today 14 mins which is nearly a PB for me!
    I flew (all relative given some times!) through the crossword with 7d only holding me up. I was expecting very quick times from others given my experience, I’d suggest this was the easiest of the week!
    I think 7d has appeared previously too.
    FOI: 1a
    COD: 7d
    LOI: 7d
    thanks to blogger, setter and all who contribute.
  7. I had an inadvertant DNF on my 30 minute target as I was down to 19A and 7D when I accidently touched the reveal button on my phone and UNWEARABLE appeared. Just as well as I would never have got it, even with all the checkers . The clue is simply too obscure for me, and I suspect for most of the SCC.
    A blot on an otherwise excellent QC, I think.

    Edited at 2018-12-21 09:35 am (UTC)

  8. About right for me – some challenging clues but plenty to get me going. LOI UNWEARABLE predictably enough – always struggle with cryptics.
    Joke made me smile 🙂 Best one we had last year: A dog called Minton ate a shuttlecock… BAD Minton!
  9. Found this the toughest of the week, but then I am not at my sharpest at 4am. After a discouraging start, worked it from the bottom up. FOI TOWN. LOIs ANATHEMA (completely missed the hidden) and UNWEARABLE (COD) (really went round the houses on that one).
  10. Enjoyed this. There were a couple of clues where I couldn’t justify the wordplay. One because I had gone for erring instead of errant and the other because although I had put in iron age, I too was looking for the extra around rage. The explanations made perfect sense, so thanks for that. Nothing tenuous either so this ticked all my boxes 🙂 Thanks again!
  11. I started with RUST and finished with ANATHEMA. 7d gave me pause for thought, as although I thought I’d interpreted the clue correctly I wasn’t convinced by the answer and was pleasantly surprised to have no pink squares. I always find Hurley’s puzzles on the chewy side. 8:28. Thanks Hurley and John. Compliments of the season to you too, and to all our contributors.
  12. Had to BIFF both PETITION and ANATHEMA. Otherwise a straightforward and enjoyable puzzle.

    TIME 5:21

  13. Well, it was a good job we had Maestro as a hidden yesterday, because 12d was starting to cause problems before I looked for a hidden word – thank you Oink, and bad luck Hurley. Apart from 7d, this didn’t cause too many problems, though I did need a few crossers in place to sort out the anagram at 1ac. Aesthete has now come up often enough for me to be able to spell it. 26mins in total. Invariant
  14. I’m usually Kevin +/-10% but clearly hit the wavelength with 5’10”. The anagrams all dropped straight in. ‘Anathema’ was biffed and I didn’t return to parse it. My loss – what a great hidden! LOI, like others, was ‘unwearable’ for which I needed all the checkers.

    Festive thanks to setter, blogger and all contributors, both known and anonymous.

    Edited at 2018-12-21 02:07 pm (UTC)

  15. How curious: I’ve never managed a QC in under 30mins – but did this in about 8.

    It just goes to show . . . not sure what. I must be abberrating


  16. I am having a bad few days. I needed 17 minutes for this DNF as I put Unbearable for 7d. My penultimate solve was 15d CORKAGE and 11a AESTHETE required all but the last checker. I also initially had the wrong BEACH for 18d which held me up at 21a AWARE.
  17. Crosswords are weird. This was my slowest of the week at 24.18 and in general I’d been getting quicker, while several found it the easiest. Didn’t help putting in APPLIER for 2dn. Thought the anagrams were nice and tricky. Grrr.
  18. Some clever clues I thought, enjoying PUNISH, FRISSON, ANATHEMA (which I biffed before realising it was a hidden) and LOI ARAB, which took me a further moment to parse once I came up with it. (Had been looking for a word to remove the letter “a” from). Took 33 minutes, including 5 minutes for ARAB, but technically a DNF because like desdeeloeste I put unbearable instead of unwearable.

    Edited at 2018-12-21 09:20 pm (UTC)

  19. Very late start today. I thought I would cane this one but soon slowed down. A few biffs but all parsed. Just shy of 15 mins with LOI Unwearable and COD Anathema although I liked Frisson and Twain. John M.
  20. 1.8 Kevins here, a Very Good Day. LOI UNWEARABLE (a piece of paste in an otherwise sparkling necklace, for my money).

    Thanks Hurley and John (excellent joke!)


  21. Over two hours and didn’t get Arab and therefore unwearable
    Thought the wording of It was obscure- on return, exclude a horse? On return not really fair as a reverse – too hard for me!

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