Times Quick Cryptic No 2129 by Hurley

A slightly harder than average Quick Crossword, if my time (6:16) is anything to go by, from Hurley today. I found the long answers a bit tricky and got stuck trying, in vain, to make the answer to 13A VIRTUE. My LOI was 16D where I was expecting the King at the end not the beginning. Nice one. 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, number 50, entitled “How many?”, which is a bit of a clue to some of the answers, and details of a get-together in London tomorrow here. Enjoy! If anyone is interested in our previous offerings you can find an index to all 50 here.

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

1 At beginning constable attending a search in underground area (8)
CATACOMB – Constable [at beginning] AT (attending) A COMB (search). A tricky one to start.
5 To some extent skilful, entrant advanced (4)
LENT – Hidden in, [to some extent] skilfuL ENTrant. Advanced as in loaned.
9 Authoritarian is back (5)
STERN – Double definition.
10 Model admitting Mike two hours before midnight, very much in love (7)
SMITTENSIT (model) outside, [admitting], M (Mike in the NATO phonetic alphabet) TEN (two hours before midnight).
11 Anecdote about skirts initially creates embarrassment, needless, cringeworthy even (12)
REMINISCENCERE (about) MINIS (skirts) and the first letters of [initially] Creates Embarrassment Needless Cringeworthy Even. A bit Ikean – assemble as instructed.
13 Grace perhaps of one settling debt, concealing resistance (6)
PRAYERPAYER (one settling debt) [concealing] R (resistance). No. Not VIRTUE, which I was trying to get to work.
15 Underwater craft let loose, not immediately obvious (6)
SUBTLE – SUB (underwater craft) (let)* [loose].
17 Try to gain favour from army person, we hear, leading to facing this? (5,7)
COURT MARTIALCOURT (try to gain favour), MARTIAL, sounds like, [we hear] MARSHAL (army person).
20 Artist returning aid — National Trust happy? (7)
RADIANTRA (Royal Academician; artist) AID [returning-> DIA, NT (National Trust).
21 Canoe floating in water (5)
OCEAN – (Canoe)* [floating].
22 Trading centre’s vehicle facing wrong way (4)
MART – TRAM (vehicle) reversed [facing the wrong way] -> MART.
23 Equine event in Dorset’s regularly visited — wise (8)
DRESSAGE – Alternate letters of DoRsEt’S [regularly visited], SAGE (wise).
1 Conflict when learner’s missing money (4)
CASHClASH (conflict) without the L (learner), [when learner’s missing]. I needed checkers to see this one.
2 Idea expanded in article by yours truly (5)
THEMETHE (article) ME (yours truly).
3 Sure of oneself, not half jovial in private (12)
CONFIDENTIALCONFIDENT (sure of oneself), [not half of] jovIAL.
4 Short time with Salvation Army in charge of decorative item maybe (6)
MOSAICMO (short time) S.A. (Salvation Army) I.C. (in charge). Hmm. Not the most helpful of definitions.
6 Old metal cut at edges, obsolete (7)
EXTINCTEX (old) TIN (metal) and the outside letters of CuT [at edges].
7 Ken, trier, somehow he’s making adjustments (8)
TINKERER – (Ken trier)* [somehow].
8 Sadly studio source showing bad manners (12)
DISCOURTEOUS – [Sadly] (studio source)*.
12 Play guitar, say, entertaining Charlie after gym — colourful display? (8)
SPECTRUMSTRUM (play guitar, say) outside [entertaining] C (Charlie) [after] PE (Physical Education; gym).
14 In pieces — a newspaper with German article (7)
ASUNDERA SUN (newspaper) DER (German article; “the” in German).
16 King following traveller on water (6)
RAFTERR (king) AFTER (following). My LOI; I was held up by being fixated on the King being at the end. Clever setter for leading smartypants solvers like me astray.
18 It’s essential to share national sporting venue (5)
ARENA – Hidden in, [it’s essential to] shARE NAtional.
19 Formerly working with support of Church (4)
ONCEON (working) C.E. (Church of England; church).

25 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2129 by Hurley”

  1. ..but with another typo (less embarrassing than “basic spelling mistake”). Was fodder so even less excuse.

    Didn’t find it too tough though RAFTER took a little while at the end

    Didn’t parse CONFIDENTIAL once had the first few checkers


    Thanks John and Hurley

  2. I also got held up on RAFTER taking “following” as a sort of positional indicator. It was my LOI.
  3. The top half fell quickly after FOI: CATACOMB including the long downs and would have been on for a fast time but for my LOI: RAFTER which seemed to take an age to see. Also, the well-hidden ARENA.

    COD: CATACOMB. Or maybe RAFTER for preventing a fast time.

    23 minutes all parsed.

  4. I made the same RAFTER mistake. REMINISCENCE my LOI; took some time. 7:15.
  5. My time of 13 minutes suggests this was another poor solve for me but only one clue, 16dn, proved a problem and took me over my target 10 minutes.

    Further to yesterday’s inaugural puzzle by Parkin, some of you may not have seen Lou Weed’s latish contribution to the discussion pointing out there was a sort of Wordl element to the proceedings. Thanks for that Lou! To save you clicking back, here’s the full tally of what we all found between us:

    DAVE (Parfitt, retiring Times Puzzles Editor)
    (Hodgkin, new Times Puzzles Editor :


    Additionally there was
    TA-TA DAVE (top row)
    HI MICK (bottom row)
    HAWTHORN (David Parfitt’s QC setter name) at 16ac

    Oh, and finally, Mick Hodgkin sets puzzles as MORPH for The Independent

    Edited at 2022-05-06 06:12 am (UTC)

  6. Enjoyed this … and it will be busy in the ARENA at Badminton today for the DRESSAGE.
  7. Ran out of time and threw in the towel at 35 mins. DNF with 16D being the above referenced culprit for me.
    Thanks John and Hurley. Have a good weekend everyone and a convivial gathering. Final wedding preparations for son’s imminent nuptial for me.
  8. Oh.

    Had everything but 16D in under 30-mins for what would have been 4-in-a-row for the week.

    A 20+ min alphabet trawl produced nothing. Admittedly I got bored of typing in letters/paying attention around R/S and had changed the T of RADIANT to a H somewhere around there which might explain not seeing it.

    Then it occurred to me … MASTER is king and ships have masts which travel on water. So technically possible but realistically a deserved DNF.

    LbOI STERN (wasn’t sure because forgot it’s the back part of the boat

    What I noticed was that it was difficult to initially BIF clues because the definitions weren’t always immediately obvious.

    Thanks to John and Hurley

  9. ….but I missed my target here, mainly by taking around a third of my total time sorting out my LOI.

    TIME 5:45

  10. 14 minutes, with everyone’s nemesis RAFTER LOI. Such good misdirection that I have to award that COD. FOI LENT then CASH and THEME giving me CATACOMB. I should have been a bit quicker to spot REMINISCENCE, but everything else was problem free. Thanks both.
  11. Another who dallied over LOI, RAFTER. STERN went in first and then it was a gentle run until I got stuck on the aforementioned. 6:54. Thanks Hurley and John.
  12. Starting to wonder whether I’ll complete any of these ever again.

    Felt fairly pleased I’d navigated the longer, trickier clues but also came unstuck on 16dn. I ended up putting “faster”, thinking “on water” meant they weren’t eating food. Like many above, I assumed the “r” was at the end.

    Enjoyed 1ac “Catacomb”, 10ac “Smitten” and 11ac “Reminiscence”.

    FOI – 4dn “Mosaic”
    LOI – 16dn (incorrect)
    COD – 3dn “Confidential”

    Thanks as usual!

  13. Like blogger and so many other commenters had trouble with RAFTER. Unlike them though I threw in the towel after 23 minutes. Seems to be a lack of necessary skill and sticktoitiveness.
    Also seems my brain, eyes and fingers tend to pack it in around 20 minute mark! Thanks johninterred for explanations- had no idea on REMINISCENCE. Enjoyed many clues especially CATACOMB and EXTINCT. Did a brief double-take when I confidently wrote in tinker and saw there were two empty spaces still!
  14. … but a further 21 minutes for those (wretched) two. They were CASH and STERN (my LOI). I couldn’t for the life of me work out the definition or structure of either of these interconnecting clues, and alphabet-trawling C___ and __R_N led to an overwhelming number of possibilities. I got there in the end (49 minutes) and fortunately, given many others’ experiences above, RAFTER came relatively quickly.

    Mrs Random knocked it off in 27 minutes, and then got about half of her way through yesterday’s Parkin before deciding she had better things to do in the garden. She will come back to it later, but the weather down here in the (soft) South is simply too good to be indoors. Our windows are wide open and I can hear the nesting blackbirds alarm-calling for all they’re worth. I can’t see the cause, though.

    Many thanks to Hurley and John (I hope to try the fortnightly QC sometime over the weekend).

  15. Another who was left confused by LOI and COD RAFTER and had to resort to an alphabet trawl. My only other hold up was with CONFIDENTIAL due to misspelling a biffed remEniscence.
    Happy to squeak in under target in 9.13
    Thanks to John
  16. DNF with 16dn outstanding. Glad to see I’m in good company with that! 27 mins for the rest, but that includes staring at 16dn for at least 5 of those. Finally decided that there were too many possible combinations to do an alphabet trawl, so threw in the towel.

    FOI – 5ac LENT
    LOI – DNF

    Thanks to Hurley and John

  17. Thought this was going to be fast, but held up by reminisce and also by putting in court marshal, which meant I couldn’t see LOI discourteous . Luckily corrected to martial and staggered over the line.

    COD reminisce.

  18. We join those who had trouble with 16d, failed to see it even with an alphabet trawl. Otherwise we found this straightforward. We shall look at following very carefully in future.
  19. Another hard QC. Struggled with REMINISCENCE and CONFIDENTIAL for ages and did not see LENT or STERN quickly either. No problem with RAFTER. This has been a hard week.
  20. Foiled by RAFTER, as many above, otherwise seemed fairly straightforward, although couldn’t parse SMITTEN. LOI LENT — didn’t see the hidden for ages, and didn’t think of advanced as to lend money… Liked REMINISCENCE. Many thanks Hurley and John.
  21. Seemed straightforward today until I got to the last one. Despite having all the checkers I just couldn’t get RAFTER and went with a guess, MASTER. Obviously that proved wrong. It’s been a tough week.
  22. Thanks for this. I had a go at it yesterday with two 20-min stints and managed all but the SW corner. Eventually looked up Snow Leopard this morning and NHO but parsing is obvious. Still got the “Political groups” to solve so may think on that over the days.

    Anyway, enjoyed it and thanks very much!

  23. Thanks for giving it a go. Well done on nearly finishing it. Others have had trouble with the clue you are stuck on… I maybe should have changed it to something like “Political groups loudly taking measures”, although the surface of that version of the clue is a bit clunky.

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