Times Quick Cryptic No 2152 by Hurley

7:17.  My anagram skills were well and truly put to the test here, but I think I did all right.  This puzzle featured a nice variety of tough clues, which made for a very enjoyable solve overall.  Incidentally, now that classes are over, I’ve been doing the puzzles most days, and I’m enjoying getting back into the flow!

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 Exceptional talent [of] Bill in race, swimming (10)
8 A / part-time worker captivated by non-drinker[’s] endeavour (7)
ATTEMPT – A + TEMP in TT (teetotaler)
9 Dark — somewhere to sleep in Paris (5)
UNLIT – UN LIT (= ‘a bed’, in French)

A chestnut — not that I remembered it.

10 Large room [in] hotel? Entirely (4)
11 Limit time off work, initially resulting in crankiness, temper (8)
13 Italian city Anne exits, regularly going back (5)
SIENA – every other letter of ANNE EXITS reversed
14 Leather had influence reportedly (5)
SUEDE – homophone of SWAYED
16 Shopkeeper, / he tells stories (8)
RETAILER – double definition

Never knew this second one.  Chambers lists one definition of ‘retail’ as ‘to repeat in detail’.

17 Happen [in] mountain route (4)
PASS – double definition
20 Factory scheme / finally right (5)
PLANT – PLAN + last letter of RIGHT
21 Some unsold, Tim explains, [being] ancient (3-4)
OLD-TIME – hidden
22 Card game boss[’s] defensive position (10)
1 To some extent maybe a charming seaside place (5)
BEACH – hidden
2 Egghead perhaps I let call tune disastrously (12)
3 US city postgraduate [becoming] priest (4)
LAMA – L.A. + M.A.
4 Two articles on Mike[’s] song (6)
5 Comfortable including new version of true politeness (8)
COURTESY – COSY around anagram of TRUE
6 As, say, many momentous money matters — trial, leave it to be sorted out? (12)

I knew what was going on here but I couldn’t think of the word in question until I had many checking letters in place.

7 Condition protecting university sculpture (6)
12 Staircase feature miler Roger’s spoken of (8)

Roger Bannister was the first to run a mile in under four minuter.

13 Discard energy [creating] predicament (6)
15 Back / a very short time (6)
SECOND – double definition
18 On reflection, hard to understand Society drug (5)
SPEED – DEEP + S reversed
19 Heard one much admired [is] not working (4)
IDLE – homophone of IDOL

48 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2152 by Hurley”

  1. Pretty straightforward, although for some reason LOI SECOND took me some time. A PDM at 6d, where the I_E suggested IVE and suddenly I saw the alliteration in the clue. The ‘Roger’ in 12d was a bit of QC generosity on the setter’s part. 5:39.

  2. I got Brilliance right away which helped immensely.

    I had NOH Lama but the wordplay was obvious, never heard of Roger Bannister but again, the checkers made it easy same with Bridgehead

    My French lessons in the 90s are finally of use!

    I had no trouble with the anagrams today either, I should go buy some lottery tickets.

    Foi: Brilliance
    Loi: Retailer. Idk this one, in my head it’s like a person that Re tells Tales/tails. Meh.

    I also didn’t know what an egg head is. It sounds like an insult for a slow person!

      1. I’m sorry L plates, as an Australian you cannot make me sit through a video of Karl Stefanovic. I trust it’s hilarious.

        But no I didn’t think of Buddhist lamas and I wouldn’t have equated them to priests.

        In my googling I did find out that our current Dalai Lama’s name is Tenzin Gyatso and suddenly things in Avatar The Last Airbender (greatest TV show ever made) make more sense

        1. Ha ha well your loss. The Dalai Lama joke he attempts and fails to tell is great

  3. A bit on the slow side in places but I made up for this elsewhere and crept home in 10 minutes, right on my target time. ALLITERATIVE was my LOI. Most time lost over SIENA, which I thought of immediately but discounted it because I thought it was spelt with two Ns like the pigment that’s named after it.

  4. I was on the 17:30 slow-speed stopper from Siena to Shanghai (Hong Qiao)

    LOI 18dn SPEED

    Unlike the 15×15 I was off the wavelength – even with the awful 21ac as a free gift!

  5. Inside 18 mins today, steady with a few pauses for pondering and brow furrowing. The long anagrams fell fairly quickly which helped a lot. LOI, IDLE, took longer than it should, no idea why. Liked UNLIT which is new to me. RETAILER went in unparsed so thanks to Jeremy for the explanation.

  6. Fast start, slow finish. LOI SPEED where I can only put it down to my clean living, plus not registering that Society might mean S (its right there in the RSPCA and RSPB so I’ve no excuse). Didn’t notice the alliteration reading the clue in my head so loved it when ALLITERATING arrived and a happy groan when I saw what was going on at the back of RESTRICT. A good one, all green in 14.

  7. A bit clunky in places (BANISTER, OLD-TIME, ALLITERATIVE …). Liked the french bed.

  8. Couldn’t work out what was happening in my LOI Alliterative at all – the anagram eventually emerged once I had all the checkers but even then I failed to see how the clue worked, so thank you to Jeremy for explaining.

    That apart, I still seem to be on post-Jubilee weekend warp speed, and even with 2-3 minutes puzzling over my LOI, I still came in at just under 10 minutes. Several of the clues were very generous I thought, and the left hand side was completed almost as fast as I could write. An unusual experience – a glimpse of what the true pros must feel perhaps – but no doubt normal service will be resumed soon.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

  9. Sub-22 DNF … finished in 20:33 but had 2 wrong – LAMA (put lamb) and RETAILER (BIFd RETAINER and mistyped SECODD as they were last ones in). All corrected with a minute’s thought.

    Fairly pleased with that. Wasn’t sure about SIENA (geography not a strong point and they don’t have a football team that I know of!) or UNLIT (haven’t done French since the mid-80s).

    Roger BANISTER was an easy one for a middle-distance runner like myself.

    Thanks to Jeremy and Hurley

    1. A.C.N. Siena 1904 were formed in 1904! They were promoted to Serie A in 2001, but relegated after three seasons (their anniversary) reaching 13th in 20o3 (from memory). I believe they are presently in Serie D. I have visited the ground (capacity 15,000) out of season -and btw what a glorious town.

  10. The one-l lama,
    He’s a priest;
    The two-l llama,
    He’s a beast.
    And I will bet
    A silk pajama
    There isn’t any
    Three-l lllama.

    FOI BRILLIANCE, LOI SPEED, COD RETAILER, time 07:37 for 1.5K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Jeremy.


    1. In my copy of Family Reunion Ogden Nash has the following footnote.
      “The authors’s attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh”

  11. Finally, a return to some form.

    LOI was RETAILER – DNK the second definition. LIked ALLITERATIVE, despite it being a bit clunky.


  12. Just inside 10 minutes, so fast for me, and with a slight hold-up over LTI SCRAPE and PLANT in that order. Everything else was solved as I read the clue for the first time, so nearly sequential. I needed the anagram to see what 6d was all about, but several write-ins helped. Thanks both.

  13. A very quick start on the left side and I was on target until my LOsI BRIDGEHEAD and SECOND which took almost 3 mins extra. Just couldn’t see the latter.
    Good puzzle. Liked the anagrams. COD ALLITERATIVE but SUEDE raised a smile.
    Thanks to both. John M.

  14. 23 mins…

    Really annoying as I thought I was on for a PB only to be scuppered by 11ac “Restrict” and 6dn “Alliterative”. Like Cedric above, I eventually teased out an answer before I actually understood the definition, with much time wasted on trying to work out some complex, financial term. Once I saw it, the audible groan must have been heard in the next street.

    Other issues included initially biffing “Intelligence” for 2dn without looking at the anagram properly and putting “Strife” for 13dn.

    FOI – 1ac “Brilliance”
    LOI – 6dn “Alliterative”
    COD – 6dn “Alliterative”

    Thanks as usual!

  15. I notice from the times taken above that most considered this straightforward, but I found it tough finishing in 12.45. I still think one or two will find it harder than average. LOI was RESTRICT because I was searching for an alternative word for temper. Too many long anagrams for me to enjoy this offering.

  16. We had “temp” for “part time” a few weeks ago. It’s still wrong, they are completely different concepts.

    1. Totally agree Steve but I also gave up long ago on insisting that definitions be accurate rather than arcane or incorrect common usage. That way leads to too much frustration and these are supposed to be fun!

  17. BRILLIANCE was FOI, then steady progress, with a slight hold up for POI, ALLITERATIVE, until the penny dropped and a further hold up for LOI, RESTRICT, until I spotted where RICT came from. 7:57. Thanks Hurley and Jeremy.

  18. The last penny took a while to drop – ALLITERATIVE – but the rest went in fairly quickly. Liked SUEDE, SIENA, HALL, COURTESY and good old Roger, who younger people will not have heard of, I imagine. Biffed RESTRICT.
    Thanks vm, Jeremy

  19. Usual story of a good start (1ac and associated offspring) spoilt by the last few clues taking much longer to solve. This time it was the SW corner – Scrape/Retailer/Second – that provided the resistance. Retailer was the first to fall, which still looks like a partial homophone to me, with Second bringing the chequered flag down after 22min. CoD to 11ac, Restrict. Invariant

  20. Held up but LOI SPEED, otherwise fairly straightforward (although it did take me 21 mins!). Liked UNLIT and ALLITERATIVE. Needed blog to explain RETAILER (never heard of it it used in the giving detail sense – thanks plusjeremy). Enjoyable overall. Thanks to setter.

  21. Really enjoyed this one. The top half went straight in and I only missed two acrosses on the first pass. Was heading for a PB when I was stumped by SECOND. Now of course it is obvious but it took me 10 mins giving me 22 mins in total.

    NHO RETAILER in that usage and I bet nobody ever uses it that way but it was clear from the clue so fair enough. I did enjoy UNLIT which I haven’t seen before.

    Unusually for me the long clues all went straight in with no hesitation.

    Thanks Jeremy and Hurley.

  22. A bit of a struggle after a promising start with FOI BRILLIANCE. I got bogged down in the SW with the NHO/forgotten SIENA, SCRAPE and RETAILER. My last pair in were the clever ALLITERATIVE and RESTRICT. Crossed the line in 11.47
    Thanks to Jeremy

  23. 7.32

    Agree with Sawbill

    Liked ANTHEM

    Fairly standard time for me

    Thanks all

  24. 19:31. Enjoyed ALLITERATIVE and SPEED but COD to COURTESY (even though I was raised to write cozy instead of cosy!)

  25. Another failure: maybe Wordle and quordle are consuming too many brain cells. Top left flew in then nothing for ages. Towel thrown at 20:22.


  26. Thought I was doing well until I saw the two pink squares. Managed to put HOLE for 10a meaning to go back and check it, but failed to do so. Considering Hall was my maiden name I’m feeling a bit silly now.

  27. Quick on the left hand side, but slow on getting 6d, and failed with 11a restrict. Like others we were looking for a definition for temper.

  28. A flying start, but then took a break to go out to run a few errands and restart over a coffee in a local restaurant. Then I couldn’t recapture my pace. FOI 1a Brilliance. LOI 18d Speed was biffed, so grateful for Jeremy’s explanation. COD – other than 9a Un Lit nothing stands out today.
    Struggled over 14a until a persistent alphabet trawl got me the U. Wasted time thinking my way around the shops in the Market Square until Retailer popped up for 16a.
    I often find Hurley one of the more tricky setters so was surprised to see so many going in (in the NW) on first glance. I wonder whether I should have simply ploughed on rather than looking for a coffee break…

  29. Late to this after golf. LOI RESTRICT took me a while to unravel. And slow to come to PASS.
    A new meaning of Retailer today.
    A good puzzle. Not timed but not my quickest.

  30. Could not see the BRIDGEHEAD/SECOND cross at all, so DNF today. A challenging puzzle.

  31. Well I managed to solve a Hurley. Had speed for 18dn but couldn’t parse it, so spent 20 mins trying to think of something else.

    Somebody will probably argue with me, but surely a bridgehead is an offensive rather than defensive position?

    1. Seems that it might be either. Merriam-Webster:
      : a fortification protecting the end of a bridge nearest an enemy
      b: an area around the end of a bridge
      an advanced position seized in hostile territory

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