Times Quick Cryptic No 2142 by Hurley

Greetings all!  I’m delighted to contribute my first blog post on the new site.  My time for this puzzle was 6:35, and it was hard-won.  Nothing was too easy or too hard, but I really had to work for it.  Congrats to all who made it to the end!

And for those following along with the comings and goings of my personal life, I finished my exams for the semester so I’m hoping to do more puzzles this summer!

My conventions in the solutions below are to underline definitions (including a defining phrase); put linking words in [brackets]; and put all wordplay indicators in italics.  I also use a solidus (/) to help break up the clue where necessary, especially for double definitions without linking words.

1 Tactless [and] absurd claim I’d put on (12)
8 Offence, capital, here in Egypt (5)
9 Excellent one mile motorway / in French / southeast (7)
IMMENSE – I + M + M + EN (‘in’ in French) + SE

Not my definition of choice.  Is this common UK jargon?

10 Secure / draw (3)
TIE – double definition
11 A non-drinker, Dan, in hospital department, waiting on (9)
13 American animal, sullen? Not right (5)
14 Made verbal contribution [identifying] part of wheel (5)
SPOKE – double definition
16 Rapid rise transformed poor condition (9)
17 Performance [of] group, Irish, grand initially (3)
GIG – first letters of GROUP IRISH GRAND
19 Flexible English / carry on / in charge (7)
21 Hackneyed, ultimately worn-out, ceremonial (5)
TRITE – last letter of WORN-OUT + RITE
22 Theatre specialist, participant in yen, euro, surge once (12)

This is surely the longest hidden word I’ve ever encountered!  The ‘theatre’ here is the operating theatre, of course.

1 Unexpected result, winning over group of people (5)
2 A rude song at seadicey! (9)
3 Surprisingly static — reprove part of economy (7,6)
4 Drug work — I scoffed (6)
5 Official publicity cars pursued by turncoat, we hear (13)
6 Watering hole popular before noon (3)
INN – IN + N
7 To some extent ironic entreaty [for] place to meet (6)
12 Close to leading, so animated! (9)
13 Race [in] sea the French try at last (6)
MEDLEY – MED + LE (‘the’ in French) + last letter of TRY

I didn’t know this definition, which Chambers gives as, “A race in which each team member runs a different distance or (in swimming) uses a different stroke”.

15 Faction starts to collapse acrimoniously: punch-ups on regular basis to follow! (6)
CAUCUS – first letters of COLLAPSE ACRIMONIOUSLY + every other letter of PUNCH-UPS
18 Campaigner good / about / environment (first and second) (5)
GREEN – G + RE + first and second letters of ENVIRONMENT
20 Drink event with reduced prices failing to start (3)
ALE – SALE without first letter


45 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2142 by Hurley”

  1. The long ones were troublesome. I biffed PRIVATE SECTOR without a clue as to how it worked, only twigging after submitting. And I biffed NEUROSURGEON thinking I’d seen the anagrist, but (typical of me) not seeing that it was a hidden. 6:13.

  2. Over 30 minutes -couldn’t see MEDLEY for a long time and then remembered it from the Olympic swimming . Didn’t think of IMMENSE as excellent but I guess it must be a kind of vogue word. Also took too long to get ALONGSIDE . I assumed NEUROSURGEON was an anagram and it seemed so obvious I didn’t bother to investigate! Thanks, plusjeremy, for all the explanations.

    From ‘Cousin Teresa’ by Saki (1914): “I’ve got hold of an idea that is simply immense,” he babbled, “something that is simply It.”

  4. I only completed this with an anagram solver because it was that or give up completely. Long anagrams are not my friend.

    My delight when I saw that neurosurgeon was a hidden *after* I put it in made up for everything 🙂

  5. I was on the 16.15 from Cairo to Hackney Green.

    FOI 4dn OPIATE
    LOI 16dn CAUCUS
    WOD 9ac lMMENSE from Ikea, Nice!

    Re- 22ac I remember – Big game found by intern, at Iona lair (13)

    1. Thanks a good one! Slightly spoiled by not hiding the start of the word better. Someone must know the longest hidden on record.

      1. I am sure that CARDIFF ARMS PARK has been a hidden clue. Someone with a longer memory might know it?

        1. There must have been one in the 15×15 and card if farms park looks doable.
          Jeremy. You are too young to remember the said stadium. Now the Millenium Stadium having been the National Stadium for a bit. Which accountancy firm named that?
          DNF today. Quite tricky in the west. Much like the Arms Park if you’re English. Johnny

          1. Is it not now the Principality Stadium? Named I believe for a building society, not the Principality (of Wales) itself

        2. 11th April 2005 in the Times:

          Ground needs placard, if farm’s parking in short supply (7,4,4)

  6. Put off by the long anagram at 1ac I started with 1dn where UPSET went in straightaway, but I was unable to build on that and I struggled for a while to find an answer elsewhere in the grid. Once I had done so things improved but I had lost quite a lot of time and it was almost inevitable that I would overrun my target 10 minutes. In the end I completed in 12.

    Further delays along the way had been caused by the unknown ‘excellent / IMMENSE’ and ‘race / MEDLEY’.

  7. What a difference a letter makes. Tried to unscramble ‘to leading’ rather that ‘leading so’ and was solidly defeated until I looked at the clue again and then ALONGSIDE leapt out. All green in 12 today with disaster averted when I managed to stop myself submitted at the 99% banner – had to turn to my overlooked ALE. Needed Jeremy’s help to see A1 was capital. Immense for excellent is heard every saturday when describing defenders that have had a good game. Jermey was immense today, Gary.

  8. 18 minutes but seemed longer.
    FOI: INN then hopping around the grid for easier pickings. Spotted MEDLEY from the wordplay early on but left it until I had all checking letters as I couldn’t relate it to race.
    CAUCUS got from wordplay as I’m not sure I knew the word.
    LOI: NEUROSURGEON again needing all the checkers spotting the hidden post solve.

  9. 8:18 slowed down by the long ones and LOIs UNDIPLOMATIC and PRIVATE SECTOR. Have no problem with IMMENSE as tremendous or excellent as in the same way ‘terrific’ has evolved from terrifying to wonderful.

    NEUROSURGEON clue feels on the border between genius and overworked.

    Thanks Hurley n Jeremy

  10. Started with 1a and made steady progress from top to bottom with no hold ups. No trouble with any of the long answers so had plenty of helpful checkers.
    Finished in 8.11 with the MEDLEY/MOOSE pair with COD to NEUROSURGEON.
    Thanks to Jeremy

  11. A minute quicker than yesterday … 1hr09 !!

    Felt like I was going to be okay as UPSET (FOI) and the smallies INN, GIG, TIE all went in on first parse. Then it just became a struggle. So many words in clues that I couldn’t see how to break them down / put them together. Final two of MOOSE and MEDLEY (LOI) were examples of it.

    CAUCUS held me back as I thought it was “FRACAS” (regular punchups but knew it didn’t parse); unhelped by being able to unravel the DISREPAIR anagram and get the crosser.

    IMMENSE – my cool “dude” friend would use it (or yesterday’s awesome) for anything slightly wonderful.

    Thanks to Hurley and Jeremy. Another tough workout but pleased to get it done. Time to run!

  12. That was an IMMENSE puzzle.
    It felt like there were lots of anagrams while I was doing it, but on countback it was only 5.

    FOI UNDIPLOMATIC, LOI TRITE, COD DANGEROUS, time 08:27 for 1.3K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Jeremy.


  13. 1207 (King John introduces the first income tax)

    LOI was the long anagram at 1a, UNDIPLOMATIC.

    A1=Capital? As in “Capital, old chap” slang from 1940s. And not heard since.

  14. I’m not sure what to say. Like some others, I found the grid unhelpful and was slow to start the top half. I picked off the short answers and only slowly built up enough crossers to be able to make some progress, quietly muttering ‘this isn’t a QC, Hurley…’
    I kicked myself a couple of times when the grid began to fill and I accelerated quite dramatically toward the finish line (but still ending firmly in the SCC).
    Most of the difficult, quirky, and clever clues have been mentioned above but I must say that my LOI, NEUROSURGEON was the cleverest ‘hidden’ I can ever remember. Thanks, both. John M.

  15. Oh dear, DNF.
    Annoyed I did not spot NEUROSURGEON , ALONGSIDE or CENTRE. Should take more time but then I don’t want to worry about it for the rest of the day when gardening etc calls. Couldn’t see MEDLEY or CAUCUS either.
    Liked most of the rest, inc UNDIPLOMATIC, SPOKE.
    Thanks vm, Jeremy. Are the puzzles getting harder or am I getting dimmer, I wonder.

  16. Started with 1d and then tackled 1ac – congratulations to those like Templar and Plett who managed to kick off with the anagram. A steady 19min solve thereafter for a welcome sub-20, with loi a by then obvious Moose, rather than the feared obscurity. CoD has to be the four word hidden, Neurosurgeon, even if the clunky surface did rather give it away. Invariant

  17. 12 minutes to get to my last two. Then the very clever NEUROSURGEON delayed me and I needed a couple of minutes to unravel ALONGSIDE even after writing out the letters. So 16 minutes in the end.
    A puzzle with lots of well -signposted anagrams; and some quite difficult bits – MEDLEY for Race an example. For once my FOI was 1a.

  18. Nice to see the avatars have grown! I started off fairly quickly but then slowed down and just made it under my target. TIE, UPSET and SINAI got me going. PRIVATE SECTOR and UNDIPLOMATIC brought up the rear. Thought NEUROSURGEON was an anagram. 9:23. Thanks Hurley and Jeremy.

  19. Not a great fan of long anagrams so this was not my favourite puzzle. This was reflected in my time of 13.05, outside my 10.00 target.
    Like others failed to spot NEUROSURGEON was a hidden.
    Strangely 1ac was my LOI

  20. An enjoyable 17 mins for me.

    Managed to resist the temptation of Cairo for 8ac and came back to it later. The rest all went in fairly steadily even if a few anagrams took longer than they should. Wasn’t sure about 7dn “Centre” – does it mean like a shopping or meeting centre or is it something geometrical?

    FOI – 10ac “Tie”
    LOI – 1dn “Upset”
    COD – 9ac “Immense’ – not sure about that one mile motorway in SE France…anyone who’s been down the A7 south of Lyon in high Summer knows it is often less than excellent.

    Thanks as usual!

  21. DNF – could not solve CAUCUS, oh dear. Loved NEUROSURGEON! Another hard cryptic which took a long while to solve.

    1. Me too on CAUCUS, though I’ve watched enough episodes of The West Wing for the word to be familiar!

  22. FOI UPSET with 1a requiring lots of checkers. Of the long ones PRIVATE SECTOR was my last and like others I assumed NEUROSURGEON was an anagram rather than a hidden. My LOI was SINAI mostly because I was dithering over the spelling having missed the capital = A1 wordplay. 8:06

  23. DNF. 18 minutes for all bar 7dn. I gave it another 4 minutes but didn’t see the hidden and so I came here for enlightenment. Thanks to Jeremy for the explanation and for providing the parsing for several that I’d biffed. While reading through his blog I also discovered I’d managed to enter attentant at 11ac, so not one of my finer days!

    FOI – 10ac TIE
    LOI – DNF

  24. Oh dear, technical DNF with typo administrater rather than administrator, otherwise finished in just under 19 mins (a good time for me). FOI UNDIPLOMATIC. Wasn’t sure about IMMENSE, biffed SINAI as hadn’t thought of A1 for ‘capital’ (how spiffing), and took ages over DISREPAIR, which then finally yielded MEDLEY (had been stuck on main for sea rather than med…). Really liked DANGEROUS. Thanks plusjeremy and Hurley.

  25. Definitely a MER for IMMENSE=EXCELLENT. Had to do a check on the app to convince myself that it was correct. Couldn’t parse ALONGSIDE for ages, either. Otherwise, a slow and steady solve.

  26. 14 minutes today – I hope it is easier tomorrow. 22a LOI as I didn’t spot the hidden for the longest time. Many thanks both.

  27. Not a good performance today – I just couldn’t focus and crawled home after 20 minutes, my worst time for ages. IMMENSE didn’t cause any problems though. The young people use it a lot, especially my daughter, although – on reflection – I haven’t heard her say it so much recently. Maybe it’s going out of fashion. I wonder what the next buzzword will be. By the time it reaches crossword land, it will undoubtedly be a bit passé 😅
    FOI Tie LOI Disrepair COD Dangerous
    Thanks Hurley and Jeremy

  28. Hooray! Back on song after yesterday’s struggle.

    25 minutes (a very fast time for me), but with fingers crossed for SINAI – I couldn’t work out why ‘capital’ = AI. Otherwise, all fully parsed and an enjoyable puzzle.

    Somehow, I saw UNDIPLOMATIC just as I finished writing out the letters and this helped IMMENSEly, although some of its dependent down clues didn’t fall until later. I spotted NEUROSURGEON as a hidden and didn’t have to agonise too much over the other long clues, ADMINISTRATOR and PRIVATE SECTOR. UPSET nearly stumped me near the end.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Jeremy.

    1. I took A1 as meaning “first class” – and Capital being the old, Dickensian equivalent “Capital, Capital sir!”.

      If that’s wrong then I fluked it 😀

  29. 17:49

    That has to be the longest hidden word I’ve ever seen. And I still took a while to see it. Biggest hold ups were ALONGSIDE where I was looking for a synonym of animated and LOI TRITE.

  30. For a Hurley, I found this reasonably straightforward. Took a while on the anagrams, but don’t have any issue with immense (it’s a word my students employ).

    After recent struggles, I enjoyed this QC. Don’t know the time but we’ll under the hour mark.

  31. Out early this morning on a guided trap inspection with a lepidopterist, so bright and fresh when I came to the QC. Sure enough, the grid was filling in what was looking to be a record time for me of under 12 mins. Sadly not to be as I ground to a halt with 4 left. Had to do some actual work. Having just picked it up again the last four (UPSET, SINAI, GREEN, TRITE) went straight in. Funny how that happens.


    I also left HEARTSURGEON unparsed and now I know why! Didn’t spot the hidden.

    Thanks Hurley for a good test and to Jeremy for the blog.

  32. I think the best very long hidden that I’ve ever seen is one by B. Burton, which in 2006 was given a VHC in Azed 1775: ROUGH-AND-READY: ‘For sort of repair newspaper DIY column may suggest, search through and read yesterday’s!’

  33. Commenting very late today as I spent most of the day driving slowly home from a holiday in far Scotland. And I find most of my thoughts have already been made – the long long anagrams, the slight MER at Immense = Excellent, the applause for the hidden neurosurgeon.

    All done in 12 minutes. Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog.

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