Times Quick Cryptic No 2028 by Hurley

Two minutes at the end spent staring at 13d took me to 11 minutes, and there were a few trickier bits along the way after what initially seemed like a gentle enough puzzle. I had to write out the nicely ravelled anagram at 14ac; I suppose I didn’t have to spend a few seconds admiring the surface, but I did. 22ac was also nice and neat, and the homonym 24ac was oddly satisfying. Enough to like elsewhere as well, so very good fun – many thanks to Hurley!

1 Labour leader welcomed by social class in eg Leeds (6)
CASTLEL (Labour “leader”) welcomed by CASTE (social class)
4 Prominently publicise cut restricting parking (6)
SPLASH – SLASH (cut) restricting P(arking). I don’t recall seeing this as a verb.
8 Unusual garnets recollected (7)
STRANGE – anagram (recollected) of GARNETS. I doubt I was the only person to wonder what on earth arrangement of “garnets” could give a word for recollected.
10 Exhortation to continue at crease getting stick? (5)
BATON or “bat on!” = exhortation to continue at crease. A timely clue! The problem is it’s not often a matter of choice… (although some shot selections can certainly give the opposite impression)
11 Orderly scene a teacher takes in (4)
NEAT sceNE A Teacher “takes in”
12 Pie demolished with greed? It runs in the family! (8)
PEDIGREE anagram (demolished) of PIE with GREED.
14 Untax beer? That could make you full of vitality! (9)
EXUBERANT – anagram (that could make you) of UNTAX BEER
18 Old Boy, by himself, note, unfashionable (8)
OBSOLETE – OB (Old Boy), SOLE (alone = by himself) TE (note: do re me, etc.)
20 Hire purchase securing a rookie’s first musical instrument (4)
HARP – HP (Hire Purchase) securing A R (Rookie’s “first“)
22 Give up supporting attempt (5)
FORGO – FOR (pro/supporting) GO (attempt)
23 English musical work cornered by fat cat (7)
LEOPARD – E(nglish) OP (musical work) cornered by LARD (fat)
24 Heard songbird in French city (6)
RENNES heard the same as WREN (songbird)
25 Rage about heel, ultimately scheming type (6)
ANGLER – ANGER (rage) about L (heeL “ultimately”). A heel being an untrustworthy sort; an angler being a figurative fisher.

1 Firm about an offence where bets are placed (6)
CASINO – CO. (firm) about A SIN (an offence)
2 It gives information about family certain to go round Vietnam briefly (7)
SURNAME – SURE (certain) to go round NAM (Vietnam briefly)
3 Policy of alliance oddly abandoned (4)
LINE – a L L I a N c E with odd letters abandoned
5 Host anti-monarchy guy abandoning Religious Education (8)
PUBLICANrePUBLICAN (anti-monarchy guy) abandoning RE (Religious Education)
6 Performer in plant ignoring outsiders (5)
ACTOR – fACTORy (plant) ignoring outside letters
7 One offered to help with the Spanish for composer (6)
HANDEL – HAND (one offered to help) with EL (the, Spanish)
9 Basic telex with edges missing occupying the mind (9)
ELEMENTAL – tELEx “with edges missing”, MENTAL (occupying the mind)
13 Using force, get rid of nonsense over female deer, reportedly (8)
BULLDOZE BULL (nonsense) over a homonym (reportedly) of DOES (female deer). That dratted, er, “hidden” plural!
15 Track crossing Virginia, hard work (7)
TRAVAILTRAIL (track) crossing VA (Virginia)
16 Runner of errands accommodating learner — one on course? (6)
GOLFER – GOFER (runner of errands) accommodating L(earner). Ah, I see GOFER derives from “to go for”, which is rather obvious now I think about it – I just assumed it was something gopher related. And a gaffer is a contraction of godfather, while we’re vaguely on the subject.
17 Aid for snooker player as pride’s shattered (6)
SPIDER anagram (shattered) of PRIDES
19 Alarm mechanism in premises I rented (5)
SIREN “in” premeseS I RENted
21 Initially missed out, angry newbies complain (4)
MOAN “initially) Missed Out, Angry Newbies

53 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2028 by Hurley”

  1. Very on the wavelength for this one, from the looks of the times on the leaderboard. My last in was RENNES, which I’d never heard of, but it was the only bird homophone I could make fit.
  2. A rare technical DNF from me. I gave up after 16 minutes and resorted to aids for intersecting clues that both clearly involved homophones. NHO RENNES and was never going to get to it via the bird as I was looking for one starting with R and didn’t get beyond ‘rook’ and ‘raven’. The sound-alike plural involving a Z at 12dn proved beyond me too. Bad day.

  3. Toughish

    Foxed by the plural deer so BULLDOZE also my last one in. So obvious when you see it 🙄

    Not great at fauna but geography a stronger suit so no difficulty with RENNES

    Liked LINE — clever to find that in alliance

    Thanks Rolytoly and Hurley

  4. Also held up at the end by BULLDOZE. No problem with RENNES since I’ve been there several times for work. Took too long to get PEDIGREE given I knew what the letters were. I was thinking more along the heirloom meaning.
  5. I found this one difficult, unable to finish without aids. Despite that I did get one clue incorrect, resulting in a DNF
  6. and revealed BULLDOZE after 8 mins and change.

    Was romping along, but GOLFER, OBSOLETE and RENNES all slowed me down, and although I thought of DOE, I never made the leap to DOZE. Nice one Hurley! Thanks to rolytoly too.


  7. A fairly easy one, although BULLDOZE and FORGO held me up at the end. Nice to see the common use of NEAT, rather than the crossword cattle version.
    Thanks, as ever, for the informative blog, and thank you setter
  8. This one sorted out the men from the boys and I just made it safely home in a perilous perilous 19 minutes.

    FOI 1dn CASINO

    LOI 25ac FORGO

    COD 24ac RENNES brilliant clue — a bird, the ‘R’ to kick-off with, the ‘faux’ plural and some French geography, all in one! My grandfather sketched the cathedral there in 1915, whilst on the march.

    WOD ditto

    A proper puzzlement.

    Edited at 2021-12-16 08:24 am (UTC)

  9. No major problems today, just a minor hold up at the end for the RENNES/BULLDOZE combo. I’m not sure where RENNES came from as initially I couldn’t think beyond Rouen and Reimes. My first under target finish for almost a fortnight, although I didn’t parse ACTOR as couldn’t think of any flowers that fitted the bill. Completed in 7.19.
    Thanks to Roly
  10. I agree that RENNES was a very good (but testing) clue in a generally difficult SE (BULLDOZE, GOLFER (gofer didn’t spring easily to mind), and FORGO (I wanted to include an E). Having sorted those, I had to return to 1A and finish with CASTLE which just didn’t click on my first run through.
    A good QC, especially after some recent horrors. It occupied me for an enjoyable 2 mins over target. Thanks to Hurley and Roly. John M.

    Edited at 2021-12-16 09:32 am (UTC)

  11. Enjoyed this – roundabout 15 for me – no problem with Rennes but it took a while for Go(L)fer to come to mind. Thanks setter and blogger.
  12. Just made it a few seconds inside my 15 minute target, with RENNES LOI after BULLDOZE. The 1s came to me quickly for a good start, although SPLASH needed all the checkers from its descendants. No other significant problems, just a few sticky clues exercising the gray matter. Thanks Roly and Hurley.
  13. Definitely a stiff workout …
    … the SW corner especially, where just about every clue had me scratching my head. 13D Bulldoze was biffed from Bull and the checkers for the bottom half, and only subsequently parsed, and like Oldblighter I thought 22A Forgo had an E in it, which held that one up. Only then did I see my LOI 16D Golfer — wasn’t sure Gofer was a real word at first.

    No time as much interrupted but certainly north of 15 minutes for a Slow Day. Like many others I enjoyed 24A Rennes — a nice city to visit and I have even flown to and from their airport — a very smart regional airport that reminds you flying can be stress free.

    Many thanks to Roly for the blog

  14. Defeated by RENNES. I’ve NHO the city and constructed RENNEN, from RENN for the bird and French in=EN. I also postulated DOSE for the deer homophone before I saw the BULL, and didn’t change it to Z when I did. Those 2 took me from 8 minutes to 12:06, but no coconut! Thanks Hurley and Roly.
  15. 15:03, also spent time on BULLDOZE. Was sure female deer was going to be an odd hunting term like hind, I liked “bullseye” as well. FORGO was LOI.

    Had to pass 1a CASTLE until later, confused because Leeds Castle is not in Leeds, which is why the setter chose it rather than Corfe or Canaervon.

    Thought that RENNES would trip a few up, they played Chelsea in the Champions League a few weeks ago.

    Surprised that SPIDER worked at 17d, was trying desperately to make “rest” work.

    COD BATON — instructions to Smith and Labuschange no doubt.

    1. Leeds Castle is in Kent – near Maidstone. And home to the late Sir Gawaine Baillie, who was a bit of a scallywag. He sold ‘his’ stamp collection for some 25 million quid – but his wife stated in the introduction to the Sotherbys’ catalogues (12 in all!) that she didn’t even know he was a stamp collector. It is a very large castle but….
  16. Not on Hurley’s wavelength at all today — took us a magnificent 35 minutes to complete. The little grey cells took ages to work out CASTLE and SPLASH. Might not have been a fast time but we certainly enjoyed the challenge.


    Thanks to Rolytoly and Hurley.

  17. I’m another who missed the plural ‘deer’, so spent a long while on BULLDOZE but RENNES, which I guess I know from childhood holidays to Brittany (and football as Merlin notes), came easily to balance it out. Finished in 16 but with a pink square for a casually entered ‘travaol’. Best moment was giving up on Leonard when LEOPARD made itself known.
  18. 14:59 for me with LOI BULLDOZE.
    Prior to that held up considerably by SURNAME -wanting to put a V in it; and EXUBERANT where I failed to see the anagram until I’d solved the clue. I’ll make that my COD.
    My last visit to The Emirates was in 2019 for Arsenal V Rennes. And I’ve been there, so that wasn’t a problem for me.
    I thought I should have been quicker but on reflection I can see this was an excellent puzzle with so many of our solvers being challenged.
  19. One of those ones that felt tricky at the time, but looking back there’s nothing too difficult. Overall, I managed to hobble in around 34 mins.

    Some lovely clues though, including 1ac “Castle”, 16dn “Golfer” and 24ac “Rennes” (tried to fit Cannes/Canary in there for a while)

    FOI — 1dn “Casino”
    LOI — 13dn “Bulldoze”
    COD — 2dn “Surname” — took far longer than it should as I was convinced there was a “v” in it.

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2021-12-16 10:50 am (UTC)

  20. These are not getting any easier. This was another 30+min at the coal face, with the token Home Counties clue, loi Castle, responsible for a few of those. Bulldoze also took a bit of digging out 🙂, but at least it helped with Rennes. CoD to 23ac, Leopard, for the surface. Invariant
  21. ….and before the blog was up. I fairly flew through it, but that in no way detracts from the fact that it was a top class QC — thank you Hurley.

    TIME 3:39

  22. Failed on CASTLE. Barbara wasn’t actually party leader, was she? I once met her in the Ladies’ somewhere and noted that her hair was very red and she was very small, friendly though.
    But I shd have biffed CASINO, bit dim there. Also failed on SURNAME trying to fit in V.


    Thanks all, esp Roly.

  23. As with yesterday’s progress was good but I was held up by a few trickier clues which probably added a good 5 mins to my time. Same time as yesterday too, at 22mins. Never managed to parse 6dn as I was looking for the wrong sort of plant but otherwise all parsed.

    FOI – 10ac BATON
    LOI – 1ac CASTLE
    COD – 10ac BATON

    Thanks to Hurley and Rolytoly

  24. 5:43 this morning. Well pitched QC from Hurley, with several satisfying clues to solve and no real obscurities, except perhaps for 24 ac “Rennes” and 17 d “spider” both of which I was aware of fortunately.
    FOI 1 d “casino” and then a few pauses en route to LOI 13 d “bulldoze”, where my thoughts progressed for “female deer” from “roe” to “roes” to “does” and the merciful PDM.
    COD 24 ac “Rennes”. In fact, I reckon French towns could provide a rich source of homophone-based clues, reams of them indeed??
    Thanks to Roly for the blog and to Hurley for another in a series of fine puzzles.
    1. May I add Parry, Camper and Two Loos to your list?
      And my Aussie friend would like to add ‘Roo Bay.
      1. I always look forward to Parry-Roo-Bay 🙂

        A tardy 10 minutes for me today, getting stuck in the SW after a rapid start.


        1. Correct — I’ve asked native French speakers why it is pronounced Rance, and they have no idea.
  25. First 20 clues done at a rate of less than a minute per clue, but then I ran into the sand. SPLASH and BULLDOZE both required lengthy alphabet trawls. Then I had to tackle the NW corner, which remained largely unpopulated. CASINO/NEAT took 4-5 minutes to solve, and SURNAME/CASTLE came a few minutes later. Total time = 38 minutes, which is about par for the course for me at the moment, but perhaps a little slow for a Hurley.

    Mrs Random will have her go this evening, when she returns from visiting he parents.

    Many thanks to Hurley and rolytoly.

  26. Struggled with this and had to come back to it after having only done about half. However, did eventually manage to finish. CASTLE somewhat dated for a Labour leader – one for us oldies!
  27. I managed this in 5:57 minutes. A very tough workout. 13dn Bulldozer was my COD with 24ac Rennes and 1ac Castle on the podium. Golfer was cute (clever)!
  28. I always begin with the last clue, so imagined 21d might be a hint at an easier day today. It was one of my best days, could that be auto-suggestion, or something, I wonder? V happy to put in ‘z’ not ‘s’ for Bulldoze, and to spot ‘nam’ not ‘v’ for Surname. But not so clever to go for ‘aster’ not Actor in 6d. Factory = plant is a subtle parse I think I have to learn and remember. 24 min a GN5.
  29. After 15m we only had 4 clues to go. 4a splash and 5d publican came after a few minutes but defeated by the 1a castle and 2d surname.e
  30. Tough but interesting. FOI baton, fifteen on first pass, and then … is there a French city called Rennes, I wondered, and sure enough there was. Two others gave me more than pause for thought. On about the third read through with interruptions for soup-making and curtain-making I realised 1ac was Castle, and wondered if she ever led the Labour Party – will have to check. She certainly was A leader if not THE leader. LOI surname, knew it was sure around something, but was it to do with family or Vietnam? Didn’t think I’d see it, but my husband asked if Vietnam was ever known as Surinam, which of course it wasn’t, but his kite-flying cracked my mental block. Did not parse leopard or angler. Thanks, Rolytoly, and Hurley.
  31. Couldn’t recall RENNES but it fit once I’d figured out BULLDOZE. Just inside 20 minute target.
  32. Flew through most of this, getting the majority of the clues first time round, at which point I had about 12 minutes on the watch. The last five (BULLDOZE, FORGO, GOLFER, RENNES and SPLASH in that order) were somewhat harder work, but I finished in 21:46, which I see from the blog is reasonably respectable, and far more satisfactory than yesterday’s effort which saw a similarly flying start grind to a complete halt and an eventual DNF due to not knowing anything about New York Opera Houses. Anyway, COD to GOLFER, and my thanks to Hurley and Roly.
  33. Fun fun fun. Really enjoyed that one.

    FOI CASINO, LOI BULLDOZE (that sneaky plural …), COD GOLFER, time 12:44 for an estimated 2.1K and a Decent Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Roly.


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