Times Quick Cryptic No 2083 by Hurley

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
I think this was a classic Quick Cryptic; nothing too obtuse, nothing too difficult, simple devices clearly indicated.  It still took me 13 minutes, and probably should have been quicker, but I took a moment or two to see the anagrams at 9a, 20a and 13d.

For a while I thought we might have a schooldays theme emerging with 3d, 10a, football teams etc., but it’s not enough to warrant that classification.  My thanks to Hurley for such a gentle puzzle, which should cause no major issues for our solvers, even those who like to take their time and enjoy the journey, rather than speeding to the destination.


7  Begs, we hear, for commendation (6)
PRAISE – Sounds like (we hear) PRAYS (begs).
Football team level with the Spanish earlier (6)
ELEVEN – EL (‘the’ in Spanish) ahead of (earlier) EVEN (level).
9 Equal rights advocate, finest – I’m converted (8)
FEMINIST – Anagram (converted) of [FINEST – I’M].
10  Cheat to find somewhere to sleep (4)
CRIB – Double definition, the first to plagiarise or cheat, the second a child’s cot.
11 Hidden in attic over time (6)
COVERT – Hidden answer in {atti}C OVER T{ime}.
13  Fabric salesperson received by Church (5)
CREPE – REP{resentative} (salesperson) inside (hidden by) CE (Church – of England)
14  English artist’s epoch (3)
ERA – E{nglish} and RA (artist – Royal Academician)
15  Solitary guy has change of heart: he’s not successful (5)
LOSER – LOnER (solitary guy) exchanges middle letter N for S (has change of heart).
17  Elf’s grudge, harbouring resistance (6)
SPRITE – SPITE (grudge) containing (harbouring) R{esistance}.
19  Pinnacle of European talent – all starting for this writer (4)
POET – First letters (all starting) of Pinnacle Of European Talent.
20  It’s close at work – a special day (8)
SOLSTICE – Anagram (at work) of [IT’S CLOSE].
22 Grainy food provided repeatedly, they say (6)
CEREAL – Sounds like (they say) SERIAL (provided repeatedly).
23  Temporary work on stage (6)
ACTING – Double definition, the first as in ACTING Commanding Officer, temporarily in charge.


Press demur generally seeing major cutbacks (4)
URGE – Hidden inside {dem}UR GE{nerally) and revealed when that phrase is cut back from either end (major cutbacks).
Forceful six are annoying (6)
VIRILE – VI (six in Roman numerals) and RILE (are annoying).
List of names to have an effect (8)
REGISTER – Double definition.
Skin of cat, maybe, absorbing learner (4)
PELT – PET (cat, maybe) containing (absorbing) L{earner}.
5  Secure changes for free (6)
RESCUE – Anagram (changes) of [SECURE].  The anagram descrambler in my head first tried RECUSE before it found RESCUE, and there are a few other alternatives to play with.
6 Contrite writer I shelter (8)
PENITENT – PEN (writer) and I (I) with TENT (shelter).
12  Individual watching cricket side – attractive person (8)
ONLOOKER – ON (one of the ‘sides’ in cricket) and LOOKER (attractive person).
13  Alsace do going awry?  What doctor has to deal with? (8)
CASELOAD – Anagram (going awry) of [ALSACE DO].
16  Easy chance for model (6)
SITTER – Another double definition.
18  Leading pairs from rookie tag teams follow set order (6)
ROTATE – First two letters (leading pairs) of RO{okie}, TA{g} and TE{am}.
20  Dispose of little room, by the sound of it (4)
SELL – Sounds like (by the sound of it) CELL (little room).
21  Where sweet may be found, cold one (4)
CONE – C{old} and ONE (one).   An ice cream (sweet) is often eaten in a CONE.

41 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2083 by Hurley”

  1. I found this hard since I got held up at the end on CEREAL and SELL. Once you have one, the other is obvious, but with no helpful checkers, I was floundering for a bit. I don’t have a time since I went off and put some dinner together and came back and, as so often happens, saw everything immediately.
  2. Is this another tough one or just me not concentrating? The SW taking time again.
    30 minutes from start to finish all parsed and enjoyed. Although PRAISE BIFD as the homophone just didn’t come to mind.

  3. Simply could not see VIRILE URGE CELL CRIB & ACTING among others and thought CONE couldn’t possibly be that obvious. A bad day – even had resort to help for SOLSTICE. One of those that even reading the blog I completely understand the parsing but think I would have stared endlessly without success anyway. Ho hum.
  4. I’m another that struggled. Especially in the NW. Couldn’t see beyond ‘please’ where PRAISE ended up (prays for begs just didn’t come to mind) and I missed the hidden URGE for a very, very long time. All green in 17.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 08:48 am (UTC)

  5. Eighteen minutes so not a push-over, plenty to think about here. FOI eleven, LOI cone, thought it might be cane as in sugar, but the cold one made it cone, with a bit of a cloud over it. Dithered over cell/sell, but saw solstice, and then realised which was meant by the sound of it. Others to ponder over were virile, praise, urge, register, crib and sprite, so all C’sOD. LOI cone. Thanks, Rotter, and Hurley.
  6. DNF, couldn’t get CEREAL. Classic “no first letter” brain freeze.

    Made an absolute Horlicks of the rest of it along the way, carelessly putting LONER not LOSER (thus making SITTER impossible till I spotted it), putting SHED for SELL, PLEASE for PRAISE, making the anagram at 5dn RECUSE instead of RESCUE and needing all the checkers and a long trawl for SPRITE. Dear oh dear what a catalogue of incompetence.

    Basically I shouldn’t do crosswords before espresso!

    Thanks Rotter and Hurley.


    Edited at 2022-03-03 10:12 am (UTC)

  7. Glad to see I am not alone in finding this tough. I managed to finish without quite stepping into the SCC which is a plus this week! CEREAL and SELL caused me problems but my final return to the NW corner was not smooth either. I got my LOI URGE only when VIRILE and PRAISE clicked (I was unaccountably slow with these). I hesitated with CONE, feeling that something was just not quite right but I entered it anyway.
    A fair puzzle but far from straightforward. I think SOLSTICE was my COD. Thanks to Hurley and to rotter for his usual succinct but helpful blog. John M.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 09:44 am (UTC)

  8. ….but with a number of tricky clues thrown in. It took me three passes through the clues to spot CRIB, CEREAL, and ACTING. My LOI in was so blindingly obvious that I thought it must be a booby trap and refused to enter it until I had the crossing N in place.

    TIME 4:36

  9. Slowest of the week. Went down every blind alley. Lose anyone (loos)? Then realising it had to be cereal in went cell. Then realising that couldnt be right either finally put in sell. Struggled with the solstice anagram. Over in the NE had recuse. I won’t go on. All green at any rate!

    Thanks Hurley and therotter

    1. Like you, I hesitated over loos/lose and the consequences. I was tempted by recuse, too. Solstice was a struggle but was my COD because of the clever surface. John
  10. Something of a rodeo ride round the grid struggling to hang on to the end but fell off at the last, VIRILE. Presumed VI but just got myself riled. COD SOLSTICE.
    Thanks Hurley and Rotter
  11. I made fair progress despite the awful grid and around the 8 minutes mark I stopped to take a phone call with just 3 to go. I had been staring at them for a while. What a difference the break made. I got URGE first although I missed the hidden and incorrectly parsed it as surge cut back at the beginning. Then came ACTING which was obvious once I had it and finally the missed anagram SOLSTICE. 8:44
  12. On a good day I could have sailed through like I agree with those above who found it tricky. Possibly too many homophones and anagrams, and I gave up before finding two of the former, CEREAL and SELL, but would have got both if I had one. Some nice touches such as SITTER and ONLOOKER.
  13. Couldn’t get a start in the NW and thought this was going to be another of ‘those days’, but the NE was more productive – once recuse was backed out 😉. A slow and steady solve thereafter eventually coming to a halt with Sell, Cereal and Praise the hold-outs. Sell finally unlocked Cereal, but Praise took me into the SCC and needed an alphabet trawl to produce the pdm. CoD to 2d, Virile, just ahead of Sprite. Invariant
  14. I rarely disagree with the Rotter but I thought this was much more difficult than usual so agree with several other comments.
    I am a regular solver but do not often comment — indeed this is I believe the first for the Quickie blog — I suspect That I might find the 15by15 easier today! Barry J
  15. I must have engaged the wrong brain when I got up today, as I found this decidedly awkward. VIRILE was FOI, but it was much later before URGE and REGISTER dawned. Like others, I couldn’t quite believe CONE. SPRITE and PENITENT were recalcitrant. CELL took an age to come to mind and I just couldn’t see what was going on with LOI, SOLSTICE until I saw the word from the crossers and then spotted the anagram. Definitely heading for the coffee machine before I head for the biggie! 15:42. Thanks Hurley and Rotter.
  16. Well, based on the comments above, I may have misjudged the difficulty of this puzzle rated on my sample of one when writing the blog. I am happy to listen to your comments and reclassify it as a bit tricky. Maybe I was so happy because my own time came bang in the middle of my target range (10 — 15 minutes), and after yesterday’s struggle, it just felt a lot easier to me. Thanks for your feedback everyone.

    Edited at 2022-03-03 11:46 am (UTC)

  17. Like a few above, I have to disagree with Rotter and thought this was another tough one.

    Just didn’t get anywhere near it today — call it wrong wavelength or whatever — but I really struggled. Too many clues with lots of different options which made even biffing things hard. The grid format didn’t help either.

    Whilst ice cream can be a “sweet” or a dessert, as far as I’m concerned it no longer becomes a sweet when it is in a cone. Petty, I know, but I’m in that kind of mood.

    FOI — 8ac “Eleven”
    LOI — dnf
    COD — 12dn “Onlooker”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. I agree, James, re sweet/CONE. We had similar a few years ago with sweet/CHOC ICE.
  18. I was hesitating to disagree with Rotter but see that he has now reclassified this tricky one. I rarely find myself on Hurley’s wavelength, and today was no exception. Still, at 15 minutes it was quicker than yesterday’s.
    I decided to start with the down clues today, having spotted PELT and carried on from there. I don’t think it made any difference.
    I’m absolutely with James when it comes to an ice cream cone – it’s not a sweet, either as a pudding or confectionery! Yummy though, but only in a waffle CONE😋
    FOI Pelt
    LOI Acting
    COD Covert – it was indeed well-hidden
    Thanks Hurley and Rotter
  19. DNF – came to grief in the NW where I couldn’t think of anything except PLEASE at 7ac. This made 1dn & 2dn impossible so I came here for enlightenment. Thanks for the explanations Rotter.

    FOI – 8ac ELEVEN
    LOI – DNF
    COD – 23ac ACTING

  20. I too found this difficult. Is it just me or were there a lot of vowel crossers making it difficult to get a handle on the answers? Did finish in the end though all correct

    Edited at 2022-03-03 01:03 pm (UTC)

  21. I got stuck on 20 down and I thought this a poor clue. I put in shed which does sound like a little room. Sell makes no sense for a room. End result could not get cereal. Close but no cigar 😀
    1. No, but it sounds like cell, which is a well known little room in crossword land — as Rotter explained in the blog.
  22. Phew, I’m relieved that others found this one tricky — I was starting to think we’d lost our solving skills. I think it took us a while to get onto Hurley’s wavelength and, once we did, we sailed through the last few clues that we’d been staring at blankly. We were all done in 19.53.


    Thanks Rotter and Hurley.

  23. Definitely tricky …
    … and I went up many of the blind alleys others have already mentioned (recuse, loos, etc). I also started by not believing 21D Cone could be that simple — possibly the first time my performance on any part of a QC has precisely matched Phil’s!

    All green in the end, which pleased me after my struggles, but no idea of time — I did this on my phone over several sessions and the clock doesn’t stop when you do, so it returned a somewhat embarrassing 2 hours 23 minutes! It wasn’t that long, but it was not a quick one — probably approaching 20 minutes.

    Many thanks to Rotter for the blog

  24. Another real mess, with RECUSE for RESCUE and LOSE for “Dispose of little room, by the sound of it” where lose=“dispose of”, as in “lose that old jacket” and of course loos=little room.

    Missed many others, CEREAL, PRAISE and a couple of anagrams like FEMINIST and CASELOAD.

    maybe Wordle and QUORDLE are burning out my brain cells.

    1. Amazing how we can’t rearrange a simple anagram with limited permutations like secure. Took me 2hrs after considering recuse but knowing it didn’t really parse and the U wouldn’t help for the cheat/bed.

      Wordle in around 30secs, Quordle in 8 and Worldle 1st guess. Strange to be able to do those yet struggle along so slowly on the QC.

  25. I’m another one who DNF because I had PLEASE at 7a so could not get 1d or 2d.
  26. Felt as if I was wading through treacle with this one. My solve was summed up by CEREAL which I actually got quickly and then deleted to fit LOSE into 20d. Finished in 15.09 with LOI VIRILE.
    Well played Hurley and thanks to Rotter
  27. Oh dear. Failed on CEREAL, SELL and the actually easy URGE.
    FOI CREPE, I think.
    Not on the wavelength so made heavy weather of this one on what became a busy day.
    Liked ELEVEN, PELT, VIRILE , and thought ONLOOKER was clever, among others.
    Thanks vm, Rotter.
  28. Was confident begs we hear for commendation was BADGES (badgers = begs). Which left the top left impossible. Should have seen the error sooner rather than making up other words to fit, which was never going to work.
  29. Would have been a quick one except my last two in, PRAISE and VIRILE, held me up for about five minutes. Still not bad though, especially given others’ experiences; 17:19. Thanks Hurley and Rotter.
  30. I can’t remember which hardness level Quartz is, but today’s QC is definitely not a softie. While I was stuck in my Shed of course I couldn’t see Cell, and a shame I couldn’t have Porage but ‘grainy’ food as Cereal is brilliant, I say. Like yesterday, I look forward again to tomorrow.
  31. Another frustrating day. Put shed for 20dn, which meant there was no chance with cereal.

    I really don’t get on with this setter and took ages to get the rest of the clues. I thought 21dn was weak. I thought cone straight away but then, considering the setter, thought it much too easy.

    This is turning into a very disappointing week after some recent progress.

    Never mind.


  32. Started at 4:20pm – managed the left side and a few others in 1h50 then another 30-40 mins after 9pm to finish. Will call that 2hr30 for what it’s worth.

    i’m sure this was easy (despite my issues) yet everybody says it wasn’t. I knew SOLSTICE, CASELOAD, RESCUE, FEMINIST were anagrams but couldn’t figure them out for two hours. Even simple things like rep=SALESPERSON, writer=PEN went in slowly. Went for loos/lose and tried malt (mat) for cat’s fur – neither quite passed/parsed.

    Think I pvertrained the past two days as was wide awake from 3:30-5:30am last night before dropping back to sleep until 8am. Mental acuity incapacitated, yet my work writing flowing with barely a thought.

    Held up by an elf defining a sprite. My fantasy books / D&D days would have the former as a humanoid, the latter as a fairy type creature.

    COD didn’t have will to appreciate them today

    At least I completed today’s, yesterday’s is still half-empty but less time spent on it (so far).

    Edited at 2022-03-03 10:03 pm (UTC)

  33. For what it’s worth a day late. Found this pretty straightforward and did this steadily until 20d as shed which foiled 22a cereal and led to a DNF. Was very encouraged by early progress so extra frustrated at a DNF.

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