Times Quick Cryptic No 2222 by Hurley

6:15. A good workout by Hurley! Challenging wordplay (but not overly so), combined with some misleading surfaces, made for a very enjoyable solve.

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.

7 Dislike speaking platform with front removed (5)
ODIUM – PODIUM without first letter
8 Cleaning preparation, fake, / poor? Not entirely (7)
SHAMPOO – SHAM + POOR without last letter
10 Narration, true, about Conservative, just what’s needed (7)
RECITAL – REAL around C + IT (“that’s it!”)
11 After vacation, teacher with ambition to be widely discussed (5)
TREND – TEACHER without middle letters (ie, ‘vacated’) + END
12 First home with promise, by a lake (9)
14 Snake / that might be seen around neck? (3)
BOA – double definition
15 Leave diamonds [for] one much admired (3)
GOD – GO + D
16 Healer, East German, initially enrolling on / course (9)
OSTEOPATH – OST (‘east’ in German) + first letters of ENROLLING ON + PATH
18 More than adequate, a parliamentarian / the Spanish recalled (5)
AMPLE – A + MP + EL (‘the’ in Spanish) reversed
20 Italian dish stir too slapdash (7)
RISOTTO – anagram of STIR TOO
22 Celebrated artist nursing one drink in Madrid? (7)
SANGRIA – SANG + R.A. around I
23 Concerning about unfashionable course (5)
ROUTE – RE around OUT
1 What air traveller needs, having meals provided? / I don’t know (8,4)
BOARDING PASS – BOARDING (“having meals provided”, for example) + PASS (“I don’t know”)
2 Bring up clip, / difficult to understand, [showing] fish (8)
3 Exclude some bits at centre (4)
OMIT – middle letters in SOME BITS
4 Guy caring for horses some jostle roughly (6)
5 Tower damage? Divulge nothing! (8)

I didn’t know this word but I could figure it out from the wordplay and the crossing letters.

6 Recess after physical session exercising, just tops (4)
9 Lad’s hood, fine, unexpectedly retro? (3-9)
13 Area of study grey to me sadly (8)
GEOMETRY – anagram of GREY TO ME
14 Inclined to brag, boy missing at the end / dreadful faults (8)
BOASTFUL – BOY without last letter + anagram of FAULTS

One of my rare ‘biffs’.

17 Headgear prohibition after trade union resistance (6)
TURBAN – BAN after T.U. + R
19 Pressure initially over North Dakota[’s] source of water (4)
POND – P + first letters of OVER NORTH DAKOTA
21 In part loser — finding he was tied to land (4)

54 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2222 by Hurley”

  1. Stephen Dedalus and Buck Mulligan are living in a Martello tower in Ulysses, which is how I knew it. There are apparently a number of them on the British coastline, built as a defense against Napoleon. 6:40.

  2. 10 minutes, so just within my target time. I knew MARTELLO tower but it occurred to me that many may not, so let’s hope they found the wordplay helpful.

  3. 11’57” which felt quite good having only BOA and GOD in after (over-speedy) first pass with OSTEOPATH LOI.

    Knew MARTELLO but don’t remember where from.

    Thanks Hurley & Jeremy

  4. 17 minutes.
    LOI: GEOMETRY. Slightly annoying as it’s something I work with. I think in an across clue with checkers it would have jumped out earlier.
    Favourite: MARTELLO as yes I built this from WP.

  5. Congratulated myself for marrying someone from Felixstowe as MARTELLO went in to finish in 11.15. That smugness was shortlived as I’d entered iMIT. Only a letter out so I’ll let myself off and I’d never have done in on paper – plus I wasn’t sure I wouldn’t get one for INAUGURAL anyway. Lots to enjoy here – especially PILCHARD where ‘bring up clip’ used a similar devise to yesterday’s ‘entrap’. Stared at the gaps where OSTEOPATH finally ended up before cracking what I thougth was one of the best clues seen in quite a while.

  6. 7.37

    Happy enough with that trying to avoid typos as my train rattles towards London. And spelled INAUGURAL correctly.

    Liked SANGRIA

    Thanks Hurley and Jeremy

  7. Glad to have finished, but it felt like crawling over broken glass. Brain appears to be having a rest today. Very few came easily but all parsed after many PDMs. All fair, no complaints, just wasn’t seeing it.

  8. Up like a rocket, down like the stick. I have obeyed Penny’s Law that a fast day is followed by a slow day. Couldn’t get 1d and struggled all over the grid thereafter till finally reaching LOI and COD MARTELLO.

    Time 13:50 for 2.1K and a Nemesis Day.

    Many thanks Jeremy and Hurley.


    1. That’s bad luck – perhaps the opposite of the law is that a bad day is followed by a good day. Hope so anyway 🤞

  9. Steady going today and grateful for the clear cluing for LOI, the NHO, MARTELLO. Slightly frustrating that I needed all of the checkers for BOARDING PASS thereby missing out on all those useful first letters.
    Crossed the line in 9.13.
    Thanks to Jeremy and Hurley

  10. Very similar experience to Plymouthian – all green and all eventually parsed, but it took 14 minutes, over my average, and felt hard while I was doing it.

    Several of the clues stretched definitions quite a lot I thought – in no particular order God = one admired (I can see what Hurley means, but it is at the very least debateable, and thinking of the classical gods, let alone the Norse ones, definitely not universally the case!); Trend = widely discussed (which I eventually assumed was as in “trending on social media”, but seems a stretch to me); It = just what’s needed (IMO extremely vague and loose, and if our blogger has to explain further in parentheses …).

    Did like Martello though; my childhood holidays were on the Kent coast where there are several Martello towers so this one came relatively easily once I had worked out how the clue worked and that it wasn’t an anagram of Divulge O, and was my COD.

    Many thanks to Jeremy for the blog

    1. Ref GOD as ‘one admired’ we may need to think more in terms of popular culture and the hyperbole surrounding it.

    2. As others have said, for GOD it’s the term used to refer to a person. Collins has “Someone who is admired very much by a person or group of people, and who influences them a lot, can be referred to as a god.” with the example, “To his followers he was a god.”.

      The definition for TREND is not “widely discussed” but “to be widely discussed”. If something trends on the internet then it is widely discussed.

      Finally IT = “just what’s needed” is very standard and seems to me to be an unproblematic definition. Surely you wouldn’t prefer ‘sex appeal’? 😂

      1. Thank you both for taking the trouble to reply! In all three cases I think my failing is to think of “the main meaning” not “a possible meaning even if not the most usual one”. That would explain God, which I did understand at the time, and Trending, which I now understand. As for It, well if it is a standard substitution for “just what’s needed”, then fair enough and I chalk up yet another learning point (and as you say, it is better than It = Sex appeal). I think my blind spot on the substitution rule is how vague it can be: It could be clued by almost anything, eg “he had the banana for breakfast / he had it for breakfast”, but that hardly makes “the banana” a good clue for It!

        1. The substitution rule is neither necessary nor sufficient! As I used to write in my blog intro, the ‘definition’ in a crossword clue is “an unbroken string of words which more-or-less straightforwardly indicates the answer. A definition can be as simple as a one-word synonym; but it can also be a descriptive phrase like I’m used to wind for REEL or SPOOL.” Clearly “I’m used to wind” cannot be substituted for REEL — it’s merely a hint which leads you to the word. Not just the concept, but the word itself, which means the definition has to indicate part of speech, tense, etc.

          Your example shows that the substitution test is not sufficient, either.

          That being said, as solvers I think we all feel more comfortable if there is a grammatical context in which the definition and answer can be directly interchanged. It’s a desirable quality that makes the answer really seem to “fit”.

        2. Cedric, have you never heard the exclamation “That’s it!” meaning ‘that’s the very thing’ or in other words ‘just what’s needed’?

  11. 12 and 1/2 minutes with MARTELLO holding out to the last. Everything else was clear enough. Thanks both.

  12. What a good puzzle. Lots of clues requiring thought, either to parse, or to tease out the definition.

    I started with a chuckle – seeing 2222 reminded me of Billy Birmingham’s impersonation of Richie Benaud saying the score 222 for 2.

    So many good clues – INAUGURAL, BOARDING PASS, SANGRIA, the NHO MARTELLO (I had CASTELLO until I realised I couldn’t account for the CAS). Favourite was OSTEOPATH though.

    It all took me slightly over my target range, but none the worse for that.


    1. I think Hurley missed a trick. He could have set a puzzle with only 22 clues – uncommon, but not unheard of.

  13. Ah, a mistake, I put Castello for 5d. Should have gone back to check the clueing. Pity as otherwise correct.
    I thought this was pretty difficult but maybe I should do puzzles later in the day when I am more awake. Took ages to get going after SHAMPOO, OSTLER and OLD FASHIONED. Struggled with OSTEOPATH but finally finished RHS. Much needed the PDM for BOARDING PASS. Biffed Sinatra instead of SANGRIA at first. Well, he was a celebrated artist. LOI INAUGURAL
    after much agony of thought.
    Thanks for much needed blog, Jeremy.

    1. I have used The Landmark Trust for a few weekend stays in the past and this is also why I knew the word Martello. One of my favourite places is Castle Bungalow in Devon.

      1. We have stayed at the Landmark Trust house in St David’s- the view of the cathedral filled a wall of windows and was perfectly framed.

  14. A good puzzle from Hurley and a good blog from Jeremy whose comments chime with my views on the puzzle. I liked OSTEOPATH, PILCHARD, INAUGURAL, and MARTELLO. In passing, I wonder what setters would do if Apse and Eton (Monday) were banned as Crossword answers?
    Over a minute under target so steady (but it felt quicker). Enjoyable. John M.

  15. I wasted some time wondering why I couldn’t parse BOARDING CARD or solve 22a, but eventually I saw SANGRIA and the mist lifted. ODIUM went in first and OLD FASHIONED brought up the rear. At least over the last few years, I’ve learned how to spell INAUGURAL! 9:02. Thanks Hurley and Jeremy.

  16. Looked hard at first, but after half a dozen answers went in the rest followed fairly steadily. Could not parse INAUGURAL or (sadly!) TREND, but guesses proved correct. Thanks for explanations. RISOTTO and BOA seem popular with setters recently.

  17. A steady solve across the board for me finishing in 7.53. I always like a Hurley crossword as you can be sure of a well constructed and fair puzzle.
    Briefly wondered if SANGRA was a celebrated artist I’d never heard of before realising how it was actually parsed.

  18. A slightly trickier than usual Hurley, with some less common words, but still an enjoyable 18min solve. Boarding Pass went in straight away, but Odium had to wait for both crossers even though I could see how the clue worked – podium just wouldn’t come to mind. LOI Osteopath also needed all the crossers – if only it had been clued as a modern-day torturer it would have been a write-in. CoD to 5d, Martello, another word that I knew but needed time to recall. Invariant

  19. 2222 – has meaning to me, being the internal emergency phone number in/on Navy bases and ships.

    I found this one to be enjoyable and not too difficult. I didn’t know Martello but did manage to guess it with further prompting from my “Ask Ross” phone app. It told me “damage can be a three letter word beginning with “m”. That suggested “mar”. I had already pencilled in “tello”.

    Struggled with TREND too. I did guess it but could not see how the clue worked until I came here.

    Also guessed Osteopath. Did not understand the East German reference, but it seemed to me the most likely answer.

  20. I can’t explain why, and I don’t want to offend anyone, but I mostly don’t really get on with Hurley’s puzzles. I’m sure he can live with that, though 😉 I generally complete them in a similar time to other setters, but somehow they don’t click with me. I agree that they’re fair, though, and today was no exception – all done and dusted in 11 minutes, which seems to be about average currently.
    Took a while to get started! No real stand-out clues, although I did quite like the surface for OLD-FASHIONED.
    FOI Omit LOI Boastful
    Thanks Hurley and Jeremy

  21. I was very slow to start. My FOI was BOA and had I not got BOARDING PASS soon after the NW corner would have looked very bare. My LOI was OSTLER…I put my hand up and admit I didn’t know the word! I liked SANGRIA but my COD goes to MARTELLO. 8:02

  22. 19 mins…

    Not knowing the word, I crossed my fingers for 5dn “Martello” after initially putting Pantello (which sounded like it could have been right).

    The rest was a fairly steady solve, with only the parsing on 10ac “Recital” and 12ac “Inaugural” slowing me down.

    FOI – 3dn “Omit”
    LOI – 5dn “Martello”
    COD – 16ac “Osteopath”

    Thanks as usual!

  23. My grid was still empty after 3-4 minutes, and I didn’t get started until near the bottom. This didn’t bode well and I found it tricky throughout. However, forward progress was maintained without any interminable pauses and I crossed the line all correct in 34 minutes. This is a little slow for a Hurley, these days, but still a good-ish time for me overall. My LOsI were OMIT, BOARDING PASS, PILCHARD and MARTELLO (in that order).

    Mrs Random finished in 20 minutes and then said it was “quite difficult”. She’s now pondering over one of her backlog of 40 or so QCs.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Jeremy.

  24. 16:35 BOARDING PASS was the last one to fall. For some reason I could only see dais instead of podium for a long time. Like AndyPandy I thought Sangra must be a celebrated artist but unlike him didn’t realize correct parsing until I came here. Also like many others had trouble seeing how TREND worked.

  25. Like some others, I didn’t know MARTELLO but worked it out from the wordplay – always a bit satisfying when you can do that! LOI and COD 1d BOARDING PASS. Thank you setter and blogger!

    1. 9 yesterday, 12 today! Fingers crossed for 15 tomorrow 😊 Keep going – but don’t be disappointed if you find yourself a victim of the newly named Penny’s Law! There will always be another day when it all works out well again.

  26. I thought of everything other than podium for 7ac but got it eventually. Did ok for a Hurley on the first pass but then stumbled for a while. Eventually the clues started to go in again and I was done in 30 mins. Would have been quicker had I not spent ages puzzling over 1dn, my LOI. I can’t say I parsed everything but I found it thoroughly enjoyable.

    Thanks for the ever helpful blog.

  27. Delicious PILCHARD. I’m pleased to say I must be on Hurley’s wavelength as I really enjoy them. Sorry PennyB! I thought OSTEOPATH was exquisite although struggled thinking 7ac must be to do with dais or lectern before the penny (not B) dropped. Thank you Hurley and Jeremy. P.S. 4:09am you posted the blog! Wow!

    1. Just as well we’re all different, isn’t it! I think I’m out on a limb here, because most people seem to really like Hurley’s puzzles.

      Jeremy is in the US so 4.09 here is, well I’m not quite sure what it is in New York! Late, but not the middle of the night 😅 I’m always impressed by the bloggers’ dedication though.

  28. 22:00

    A a steady solve until I got to the last 2, MARTELLO and TREND. I only got the former thanks to the wordplay and failed to parse the latter.

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