Times Quick Cryptic No 2069 by Hurley

We end the week of Times Quick Cryptics with one from Hurley. And what a pleasant and, dare I say, gentle end to the week it is. Nothing too tricky or obscure, I think, with plenty of neat surfaces. COD for me was the amusing 18A, but I liked 24A too. I finished in a rare, for me, sub 4 minute time of 3:53. Thank-you Hurley. How did you all get on?

Fortnightly Weekend Quick Cryptic. This time it is my turn to provide the extra weekend entertainment. You can find the latest crossword, titled “Two Kitchens”, here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 44 here.

Definitions underlined in bold italics, (Abc)* indicating anagram of Abc, deletions and [] other indicators.

1 Liquid container artist’s seen in restaurant (6)
CARAFERA (Royal Academician; artist) [in] CAFE (restaurant). And yes you might well find one in a restaurant.
4 By the sound of it, ready for holiday agreement (4)
PACT – Sounds like, [by the sound of it], PACKED (ready for holiday).
9 Salvation Army practice to provide something to eat (7)
SAUSAGESA (Salvation Army) USAGE (practice). Nice surface. Sausage? Very charitable of them.
10 Perform better than unfashionable party (5)
OUTDOOUT (unfashionable) DO (party).
11 Having finished first, directors getting from ship to water (9)
OVERBOARDOVER (finished) BOARD (directors).
12 Determined clique (3)
SET – Double definition.
13 Aren’t excited about university’s refreshment facility (3,3)
TEA URN – (Aren’t)* [excited], [about] U (university).
15 Cheers that cut short negative knocking, spiteful initially (6)
THANKSTHAt [cut short] and first letters of Negative Knocking Spitefully, [initially].
17 A bridge partnership wonder (3)
AWEA, WE (West and East; bridge partnership). In case you didn’t know… the places at a bridge table are named after the points of the compass and partners play opposite each other. The other partnership here would by NS.
18 Naff clue once shunned by beginners bringing riches? (9)
AFFLUENCEnAFF cLUE oNCE without their first letters, [shunned by beginners]. Definitely not a naff clue – my COD. Some might find it a little tricky though if they can’t see the wordplay directive, which is a bit of an unusual one.
21 Religious pamphlet featuring area of land (5)
TRACT – Double definition.
22 Approve finishing point as alternative to London area (7)
ENDORSEEND (finishing point) OR (alternative) SE (South East; London area).
23 Bite of Conservative cut (4)
CHEWC (Conservative) HEW (cut).
24 Voracious? Gorge, feed? Aye, regularly (6)
GREEDY –  Alternate letters of GoRgE fEeEd aYe, [regularly]. Nice one
1 Expel actors, pouty, ignoring outsiders (4,3)
CAST OUTCAST (actors) pOUTy without its first and last letters [ignoring outsiders].
2 Provoke game bird — not good (5)
ROUSEgROUSE (game bird) without the G [not good].
3 Astounds Belfast with brags, crazy (12)
FLABBERGASTS – (Belfast brags)* [crazy]. A lovely word, but where does it come from? I checked. Chambers says “Probably connected with flabby and gast to astonish”. And gast is Shakespearean. Hmm. I must look out for it in a Mephisto.
5 Craft worker in Stuttgart is anxious (7)
ARTISAN – Hidden [in] StuttgART IS ANxious.
6 Grumpy guy, rogue ticket seller, coming across resistance (5)
TROUTTOUT (rogue ticket seller) outside [coming across] R (resistance). I was slightly surprised by “guy”, thinking the word meant a grumpy woman, but Chambers has “an unpleasant interfering old person, esp. a woman”, so I guess it can be a guy too.
7 Wager — a second in series (4)
BETABET (wager) A. Second after alpha.
8 Snub old churl does — out of order! (4-8)
COLD-SHOULDER – (old churl does)* [out of order]. Another neat surface.
14 Fury after avenue seen as mediocre (7)
AVERAGERAGE (fury) [after] AVE (usual abbreviation for avenue).
16 Seen cry wildly — “That is beautiful to see” (7)
SCENERY – (Seen cry)* [wildly]. Cunning definition to make the surface reading of the clue work.
17 A non-drinker in charge of upper room (5)
ATTICA TT (teetotaller; non-drinker) IC (in charge).
19 Run away, initially finding shelter (4)
FLEE – [initially] Finding LEE (shelter).
20 Impudence visible from manner, vexatious (5)
NERVE – Hidden in, [visible from] manNER VExatious.

77 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2069 by Hurley”

  1. I hesitated at 6d because I didn’t know that meaning of TOUT (I’d call him a scalper), or of TROUT; but PACT sewed it up. I didn’t see how AFFLUENCE worked until after I’d biffed it; I thought I saw the anagrist for an anagram and didn’t bother to verify. Hurley does something similar with 1d. 5:40.

    Edited at 2022-02-11 03:12 am (UTC)

  2. I thought this was a cracker. Eight on the first pass including being able to get 1a for a change. I needed all the checkers to unravel FLABBERGASTS and a bit of patience to get to PACT at the end. Ended up all green in under 10 for the second time this week — surely a record.
  3. Heading for a rare Sub 6 but simply could not see (hear?) PACT so a long alphabet trawl made it a 7’30”. Sometimes the simplest of words can trip you up. FLABBERGASTS was fun and all round a jolly puzzle. Congrats to the 3, 4 and 5 minuters and thanks to Hurley and John
  4. A friendly grid and a gentle challenge helped me move smoothly through, needing to force myself to slow down yet still finishing in a rare 15 minute sprint rather than my usual amble. COD AFFLUENCE LOI PACT which I liked too.
    Thanks John and Hurley
  5. Very nice end to the week …
    … and all done in, for me, a rare 7-minuter. 3D Flabbergasts a wonderful word, leading to one of my favourite back-formations, “never has my gast been so flabbered” to express great surprise.

    Many thanks John for the blog, and in anticipation for the Saturday Special. I probably won’t get round to it until Sunday though — tomorrow I will have more important duties as it is my daughter’s wedding.


  6. 19 Minutes.
    FOI: CAST OUT followed by all the top row downs with TROUT going in from the clear wordplay as, like the blogger, I also was confused by the definition.
  7. A gentle end to the week, but had to think a little about the parsing of AFFLUENCE and LOI ENDORSE. Finished in 6.48.
    Thanks to John
  8. A mix of gentle and tricky for me. Most went in quickly but with hesitation over AWE (I’m not a bridge person and my first thought was ace) and PACT. I finished in under 12 mins for a change but, sadly biffed Chants instead of THANKS in my rush to complete quickly. Silly me — that’l larn me!
    Some very neat clues. Thanks to both. John M.

    Edited at 2022-02-11 10:33 am (UTC)

  9. It must have been a gentle one as I managed a PB today in a shade over 12 mins. I remember starting down the QC road a few years ago and hardly being able to finish a clue. I owe all my progress and the enormous satisfaction I achieve from these QCs to this blog, the dedicated bloggers, the clever setters and the comments of this community. Thanks to you all.

    I really enjoyed THANKS for the clever surface so that gets my COD.

    Edited at 2022-02-11 09:26 am (UTC)

      1. Thank you! Not sure 10 mins is achievable for me as I have a policy of not entering an answer unless I can parse it – that is part of the enjoyment for me. I think super fast times require quite a lot of biffing!

        1. I have the same policy so I can assure you that sub-10-no-biffing is possible – you can do it!
        2. Well done, Prof. I have the same PB as you (though not today, I’m afraid), and I harbour the same doubts about a sub-10 for the same reason.
  10. Did anyone else see “ready for holiday” in 4ac, chuckle to themselves and start trying to think of foreign currencies?!

    Nursery slopes today and none the worse for it, much enjoyed.

    FOI CARAFE, LOI CHEW, COD AFFLUENCE, time 06:22 for 1.2K and an Excellent Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and John.


    [PS on edit – eldest son, to whom I introduced the QC during Lockdown 1, did this in 04:47, smashing his PB!]

    Edited at 2022-02-11 09:43 am (UTC)

    1. 04:47. Well done eldest son! I wonder how it will be until my son is faster than me. He doesn’t do the crossword… yet.
  11. Thought I was all done in ten minutes with this gentle offering from Hurley, affluence biffed. Nineteen on first pass, the rest following from what was already there. Had a pink square, though. I put crew for chew, (LOI) couldn’t see the bite, but knew a crew cut when I saw one. C’sOD cold shoulder and flabbergasts. Wishing Cedric a wonderful day tomorrow. Thanks, John, and Hurley.
  12. Lovely puzzle and nice to end the week with a time of 7 minutes.


    Thanks John and Hurley.

  13. Agree with the blogger, this was a gentle end to the week. I completed this one in about 18 minutes, my fastest ever solve. Hopefully this is my solving drought at an end.
  14. I agree it was a good end to the week, couldn’t match those sub 5 minuters but not too far over. Good mixture of types of clue. Thanks Hurley and John!
  15. A very gentle end to the week, with only the (not for me) blindingly obvious Cold Shoulder and the clever CoD Affluence holding up an otherwise straightforward solve. 15mins, fully parsed, seems to be about as fast as I go these days. Perhaps a sharper pencil/brain would help! Invariant
  16. Very enjoyable and entertaining.

    COD OVERBOARD- but not to be recommended at this time of year, damp and dangerous.

    Thank you, Hurley and John.

  17. No problems today as I sped through this, apart from: can TROUT be a man?
    I agree with our blogger that this was a well-crafted QC.
    My time of 07:23 included a number of retypes when I thought the cursor was heading down not across. Touch-typing is something I have never learnt.
    No matter, a very enjoyable puzzle.
    1. Can’t GUY be a woman? My Chambers has ‘4. A person generally…’. Certainly, when addressing a mixed audience, Hi Guys is a common enough salutation.
        1. Very politically incorrect these days. Had to stop using the term in business meetings over a decade ago!

          Edited at 2022-02-11 05:16 pm (UTC)

  18. 7 minutes for me too, and no self-inflicted injuries today! A pleasant end to the week with quite a few old friends. I continue to practice on old puzzles in the crossword club and it is surprising quite how often TRACT, FLEE, AWE and OUTDO (among others) appear. It is also surprising how many ways the clever setters find to clue them
    FOI Carafe
    LOI Endorse
    COD WOD and AOD Flabbergasts
    15a to Hurley and John
  19. Just a few seconds over 10 minutes, with the alphabet trawl for PACT LOI spoiling a sub-tenner. Nice PDM when it occurred to me though. With sausages, trout, cold shoulder, chew, tea urn and a carafe of wine to wash it all down, this sounds like a supper that this greedy solver would like to attend. A very nice QC with lots to enjoy, and which has set me up for the day ahead. Thanks both.
  20. ….and it was the 8th clue (THANKS) that put paid to my hopes of a clean sweep. My time seems to be the quickest here so far, but I’m only 23rd on the leaderboard. I suspect a high neutrino count.

    TIME 3:32

    * On checking, the neutrino count is insignificant. Mohn has disproved my recent theory of the unlikelihood of a sub-2 minute solve, while Verlaine is sluggish by comparison at 2:03 !

    Edited at 2022-02-11 10:36 am (UTC)

    1. Dear PJ,
      At an average of 9s per clue, your time is scarcely believable (although we Random’s do believe you). Solve rates of less than 5s per clue are simply FLABBERGASTing. On average, I am still pondering over my second clue as they finish.
      1. Both mohn and verlaine are, I think, expert touch typists.

        Edited at 2022-02-11 04:59 pm (UTC)

        1. I used to be able to type at about 60 wpm, although it may be nearer 50 these days! Unfortunately it doesn’t help on a touch screen — and it definitely doesn’t help with getting the answers 😅
  21. I also found this quite gentle, with only PACT, as suggested by Templarredux, holding me up while I considered holiday spending money. 5:42. Thanks Hurley and John.
  22. I am awed and flabbergasted by the notion that anyone can even read all the clues in 2 minutes, let alone answer and write them in.
    Back in the world of normal beings, a gentle and enjoyable Friday. Just under 13 mins, which is about as fast as my SCC attitude and my one finger typing on an iPad gets.
  23. Lovely gentle QC to end the week and get me back into the top 200 on the Leaderboard. Also I am a bit groggy from taking cold and flu medication (expiration date 2020 – I think I need to do an audit of my medication cabinet) having tested positive for covid yesterday. 5:55 for an excellent albeit snuffly day.
    1. No brain fog for you then 🔥 Best wishes for a quick recovery and hope the meds work. I’m not convinced about a lot of sell-by dates!
  24. Monday and Tuesday brought two soul-destroying DNFs, despite spending over an hour on each puzzle. Since then, however, I have dispatched the latest three puzzles in a total of just 72 minutes – an astonishing pace for me. Today’s Hurley took me 19 minutes, which ranks as only my 12th ever escape (of 445 attempts) from the SCC. It also brought me a tie with Mrs Random, as she inexplicably struggled with CHEW, her LOI.

    My only doubts today were TRACT, where I DNK the ‘religious pamphlet’ meaning, and SAUSAGE, where I did not really parse the USAGE part of the clue. My FOI was CARAFE – it’s always a boost to solve 1a first – and my last two in were AFFLUENCE (great clue!) and one of its danglers, FLEE.

    Like some others above, I was ready for ‘ready for holiday’, and consequently wasted a bit of time trying to justify cent, rather than PACT.

    Many thanks to Hurley and John.

  25. Easily my fastest time of the week after having to resort to aids to solve the earlier ones of the week. All done in 14 mins, although I entered overboard, thanks and affluence from checkers without really parsing. A nice mixture of write-ins and slightly trickier clues.

    FOI – 1ac CARAFE
    LOI – 15ac THANKS
    COD – 1dn CAST OUT, mainly for the mental image of pouty actors!

    Thanks to Hurley and John

  26. 23 mins for me — so a fair bit off the pace.

    For some reason kept seeing “Soufflé” for 9ac — that would be a nice meal from the SA!

    Other than that, they all went in gradually creating a nice end to the week.

    FOI — 2dn “Rouse”
    LOI — 23ac “Chew”
    COD — 9ac “Sausage”

    Thanks as usual!

    Edited at 2022-02-11 01:47 pm (UTC)

  27. 10:33 and done on a tiny iPhone while walking, a very good time in the circumstances and my only solve of the week. Love the comment about ones gast being flabbered, I will try and use it soon.


  28. Cocked it up by putting CHINES for THANKS: mislead by the ‘cut’ bit of the clue and thinking of ‘whines’ as the negative knocking. Should have checked it!!
  29. but did not record, alas.
    Liked FLABBERGASTS, ENDORSE, COLD-SHOULDER (LOI). I too thought of TROUT as an old woman, not necessarily grumpy, eg (and I quote) ‘My wife’s got some old trouts round to tea,’
    Thanks all, esp John.
  30. Nice puzzle. Was stuck on 7d for a while. I’d mistakenly put in SAUSAAG at 9a for some reason, and wondered what ?G?A was likely to be. Once that was corrected, it was a smooth finish.
    Nice puzzle and blog
  31. Quickest for many a day, though did not break 10m by a minute or so. Thank Hurley for a pleasant end to the week.
  32. or is my brain unnumbed again. I seem to be on the cusp of racing horses, not hiring coaches, or not today anyway. 20 min and all done a GN4, never been here before. As much more eloquently spoken above, It’s you lot wot got me here! Grateful thanks.
  33. Technical DNFs, that is. Still in the GC with an overall time of about 1hr10-15.


    Spent 40-mins this morning on it while watching GB Women’s curling lose to South Korea. And had all bar 5-6 done – NW corner giving me issues.

    Went for a run – 9 miles in just over an hour. Lovely sunny blue sky day and no wind.

    Came back, finally figured out BETA and OVERBOARD (kept thinking variations of OFFBOARD due to the “having Finished First”. Then stuck on ROUSE (thinking riles even though only gamebird I could think of was grouse – doh). Sausage then slotted in.

    Turned out there was a major error in the NE corner. My FOI was STOUT (not TROUT – NHO). I’d struggled on an agreement of _A_S which I eventually decided was PAXS – that thing kids should when they’ve got fingers crossed. I was wrong.

    Finished off with CHEW which I felt was slightly dodgy for a bite but couldn’t see what else. The checker highlighted the NE corner issue but also CHEW as being incorrect so after quick correction in the NE, I spent five mins alphabet trawling before trying CHEW – who knows what happened there!


    TLDR ….. NW corner – major sticking point, NE corner – wrong, SW corner – who knows what I did there it. It all *points* to me having mistyped. Ran 9-miles quicker than I can do the QC.

    FOI ARTISAN (as stout/TROUT wasn’t).
    LOI CHEW or maybe PACT.
    COD TEA URN (some good ones there)

    Edited at 2022-02-11 05:18 pm (UTC)

    1. I well remember the days when I could run 9 miles faster than I could do the QC, but rest assured, it’s a lot easier and less painful to bring your QC times down than to run faster. Even on a good day with a flat course, I’m not sure I could even get to 4k in the time I did today, though running times are a lot less variable than times for the QC.
  34. A nice quick one to finish the week with. My LOI PACT caused me a slight hold up, but still crossed the line in 12:54 for my 11th fastest ever. Thanks Hurley and John.
  35. Took awhile to get LOI PACT despite the checkers. Otherwise straightforward and well under my 20 minute target.
  36. FOI 10ac OUTDO

    LOI 4ac PACT

    COD 2dn ROUSE

    WOD 3dn FLABBERGASTS a per Frankie Howerd

    Time 8:45

  37. For the first time I felt that I was able to put much of my experience gained over the last year or so to full use. I appreciate it was easy for most of you, but, for me, the joy of being able to deconstruct virtually all of the clues felt so satisfying. I may even have avoided the SCC!

    Gary A

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