Times Quick Cryptic No 2372 by Hurley


Slow, quick, slow today. But mostly slow. I wasn’t on Hurley’s wavelength, particularly in the NW sector, where I was held up by getting neither 1 across nor 1 down until late on. Completed in 18:08, but needed a dictionary for 1 down, which I suppose makes this a technical DNF.

My first one in didn’t come until COMPANIONWAY, then the next few acrosses came quickly, and then I was back to slowness. A couple of the clues are harder than we normally see in QCs. I’m thinking of EVASIVE and SOLOIST, both of which have three word-play elements to handle.

On balance, I think this is a harder than average puzzle. But then I’ve thought that every day this week so far.

Definitions underlined in italics, wordplay indicators in square brackets, synonyms in round brackets.

1 Be in charge of business group producing bedroom feature (9)
HEADBOARDHEAD (be in charge of, a verb) + BOARD (business group).
6 Port in Scotland? Indeed, right (3)
AYRAY (indeed) + R (right).
8 Surprise gangster somehow forgetting name initially (7)
STAGGER – Anagram [somehow] of GANGSTER without the N [forgetting name initially].
9 Quarrel  a small bit (5)
SCRAP – A double definition.

I must be doing too many crosswords. The first thing that came to mind (with a rush of smugness) when I saw “quarrel” was “arrow”. But when I couldn’t parse that, I tried to convince myself that ASTAD was really a word…

10 Partner with means to provide ladder between decks of ship (12)
12 Case of tiny Post Office error in print (4)
TYPOTY [the ‘case’ of TinY] + PO (Post Office).
13 Trick Australian natives, we hear (4)
RUSE – sounds like [we hear] “roos” (Australian natives).
17 In fair manner, Dean held envy to be wrong (12)
EVENHANDEDLY – Anagram [to be wrong] of DEAN HELD ENVY.

The “LY” part of this went in straight away, the rest had to wait for the crossing letters.

20 Tense about new jeering remark (5)
TAUNTTAUT (tense) enclosing [about] N (new).
21 Not straightforward the day before about returning official document (7)
EVASIVEEVE (the day before) enclosing [about] VISA (official document), reversed [returning].

Not straightforward, indeed.

23 Period of excitement or dreary routine? (3)
RUT – Double definition, the first being the time of year when some animals (deer spring to mind) become sexually active. “Period of excitement” covers that beautifully.
24 Prayer or stamps maybe this person’s interest? (9)
1 Entertainer’s crowd (4)
HOST – A double definition.

I needed to resort to Bradford’s dictionary to find this one.

2 A mother, Conservative, passionate (7)
AMATORYA + MA (mother) + TORY (Conservative).
3 Appropriate hobby (3)
BAG – Another double definition, the first being “appropriate” in the sense of “to take”, and the second known only to me from Austin Powers’ “that’s not my bag, baby”.
4 Endless hard tirade, notorious (6)
ARRANT – The middle two letters [endless] of hARd + RANT (tirade).

I didn’t know this meaning of “arrant”, so I needed all the crossers. I often forget that “endless” can refer to both ends of a word, so until I had HEADBOARD, I thought this was going to start with an H.

5 Girl’s progress in verbal communication (9)
DISCOURSEDI’S COURSE (girl’s progress).

My last one in: I was looking at the wrong end of the clue and thought the answer would be a girl’s name.

6 Directional sign, oddly awry, leading to argument (5)
ARROW – the first and third letters [oddly] of AwRy, + ROW (argument).

Another one that held me up. I had the W from early on, so I thought I might need to make an anagram of “awry” and then add a letter, not thinking of the “not even” meaning of “odd”.

7 Gives money back rather early perhaps, as you say at the outset (6)
REPAYS – First letters [at the outset] of Rather Early Perhaps As You Say.
11 Copper hit out, as foretold? (9)
PROPHETIC – Anagram [out] of COPPER HIT.
14 Note series of items includes nothing for performer (7)
SOLOISTSO (note, as in “do-re-mi”) + LIST (series of items) including O (nothing).
15 More successful  gambler (6)
BETTER – Another double definition.

Very MER (VMER?) at the first definition. Someone can be more successful without being better, surely?

16 Astounding university — learn in new way (6)
UNREALU (university) + an anagram [in new way] of LEARN.

This one brought Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books to my mind, but it turns out that I’m misremembering the Unseen University.

18 Crow found in index, ultimately (5)
EXULT – hidden in [found in] “indEX ULTimately”. Crow is a verb here.
19 Close to being miserly (4)
NEAR – Another double definition. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use “near” in the miserly sense. I think it only occurs in one of the Patrick O’Brian books and in crosswords.
22 Wonder regatta week contains (3)
AWE – A second hidden in three clues. Contained in “regattA WEek”

90 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2372 by Hurley”

  1. It took me some time to recall COMPANIONWAY, and to get STAGGER (I see ‘gangster’, I think AL). I had a brief MER at BETTER, but only a brief one: one meaning (of many) of ‘good’ is (ODE) ‘having the required qualities’; a better mousetrap, say, is a more successful one. Someone can certainly be a more successful salesman, say, without being a better person, but he’s a better salesman. 6:12.

  2. 12 and a bit minutes. I agree that EVASIVE was just that and like vinyl1 and Kevin I took a while to get COMPANIONWAY. Like you I must have been doing too many crosswords and the only thing that stopped me bunging in ARROW for 9a was that it would have crossed the 6d ARROW that was already there!

    Thanks to Doofenschmirtz and Hurley

  3. DNF for me. Didn’t get EVASIVE or SOLOIST within my 30 minute cut off time. I thought 1d had to be HOST with the crossers, and Wordsworth’s poem came to mind for Crowd:

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils….

    Thanks to Doofenschmirtz and Hurley as well

  4. My top half was slow but most of the lower half went in on first reading of each clue so I completed the grid in 9 minutes making this my first QC solved within my target 10 since last Wednesday, which comes as a welcome relief.

  5. 9:33 Battle of Merseburg: King Henry I defeats the Magyars to secure his proto-German state

    A fast one for me, although I kept the NW corner til last, FOI AYR, LOI HOST.

    Thanks for the blog, I find it encouraging to read about other dead ends. Mine were SOL= note, which meant SOLOIST didn’t parse, and thinking “out” referred to just “hit” in PROPHETIC.

    I had to look up the NHO near=mean in the OED (definition no. 9), to be fair it’s not marked as archaic or obsolete but it still looked unfamiliar in the references. Here’s one from Hardy in Far from Madding Crowd

    Some were beginning to consider Oak a near man

    Thought hard about BEG, BIG, BOG and especially BUG. I have the crossword bug(=hobby) these days.

  6. Beaten only by COMPANIONWAY which now rings a very distant bell, but clearly too distant to see the answer, not helped perhaps by looking originally for, and finding hard to shake, something beginning with ‘coop…’ for something deriving from cooperate, from ‘partner with’.

    Thanks Hurley & Doof.

  7. A much nicer one today for me. Finished all green in 20:22 – 22 seconds over my target time – so quite OK with that. EVENHANDEDLY was very satisfying when that one plopped in and COMPANIONWAY held me up, even though in retrospect the wordplay was very straightforward, as is so often the way! But ARRANT and STAGGER were the trickiest, largely due to the fact that I missed the anagram indicator for the latter.
    A good start to a sunny day down here in Dorzet – sunny, that is, until the gales and rain move in later 🌬 ☔️

  8. A fast finish – just over 7 minutes – but not entirely a satisfactory one as Bag was put in as the “least unlikely” of the five options (not familiar with hobby = bag), and Near = mean, Arrant = notorious and Better = more successful also all stretching my vocabulary. So more than usually fingers crossed as I completed the grid and turn to TfTT to see if I was right!

    Many thanks to Doofers for the blog

    1. Well done Cedric – believe your average is up around 12:20, so almost 50% quicker or is that better?! 😀

      1. Thank you! Yes faster than usual – even if not all vocabulary familiar. But this is how one learns new meanings for words …

  9. Back to something approaching normality after the last couple of days.
    My main issues were in the SE where COLLECTOR (NHO the collect/prayer link) and NEAR went in at the end with a degree of uncertainty, whilst SOLOIST and EVASIVE also required some thought.
    Finished in 8.09
    Thanks to Doofers

  10. I agree with Plett11 on a number of fronts, not least the relative approachability of this puzzle – it seemed like a gesture to those who have found things getting tougher recently.
    That said, it was not uniformly straightforward – I agree with Cedric’s comments on ‘stretched vocabulary’ and words like MEAN** went in with fingers so crossed, I nearly mis-typed. No problem with ‘collect’, though.
    At least I finished in 11.28 – well under target for a change. Under 2K, too. Welcome back Kevin!
    I hope the Q in QC is honoured for the rest of the week.
    Thanks to both. John M.
    ** Thanks to L-Plates (message below) for pointing out my error. I meant NEAR (not my first thought MEAN which was even less parsable than NEAR).

    1. I’m not sure us lesser mortals will find it more approachable. The clues in the top half were tough so probably demoralised and mind straying from solving by the time the slightly easier ones at the bottom were reached. But even then if you can’t get some checkers in places, the anagrams and other clues may be too tough to unravel.

      You say “MEAN went in with fingers crossed” … yet the answer was NEAR 🤔

      1. I guess that MEAN (my first thought but incompatible with COLLECTOR) was some kind of Freudian slip. 🙄 Thanks for the correction.
        I must say I found the top half much easier than the bottom half today. Strange how things work out. However, looking at the more recent comments, I suppose I must simply have been on wavelength. My relief was evident. It makes a change after the last (quite a) few days. John

  11. 4.23. I couldn’t write them in fast enough with this one, so obviously on the wavelength. Am I the only one who is surprised at seeing arrant as a synonym for notorious?

    1. See Cedric (above). I agreed with him, too, but did not list all the words again. John

      1. I see Chambers has arrant as a variation of errant, meaning notorious and rascally. We live and learn.

    2. I’ve never seen ARRANT used as anything other than a synonym for notorious! (“An arrant knave”)

  12. I may not have read Houseman but Douglas Reeman was a teenage favourite so COMPANIONWAY went straight in. Paused on BAG and ARRANT at the end to finish all green in 12. Slightly underpowered this morning after a late (for me) night out in Brentford with daughters watching England against Australia.

  13. About average for me. Like our blogger, my FOI was COMPANIONWAY quickly followed by the next few across clues. LOI EVASIVE where I puzzled for a while over ISAV as the returning official document. Doh! Thanks Hurly and Doofers 5:25.

  14. I found this to be on the easy side, and finished in 7:45 (year 745, Aethelbald was King of Mercia, Rhodri the Bald was King of Powys).

    I normally struggle with long anagrams, but EVENHANDEDLY jumped out of the page at me.
    Arrant is an adjective I have only seen followed by knave.


  15. A little more straightforward than some of late, but I hesitated for a long time over Bag and Near because I couldn’t fully parse either of them. In the end they both had to go in with fingers crossed to preserve a sub-20. CoD to 24ac, Collector, for the pdm. Invariant

  16. Well over my 1 hour cutoff and yet another dnf. I had STROP instead of SCRAP for 9a and could not solve DISCOURSE despite working out it could start with DIS.
    I’d say this week has been a tough one for relative newcomers like myself but I solved clues today that I would not have managed at the start of the year thanks to this blog.
    Cheers to Hurley and Doofers.

    1. I wanted it to be strop too, had to show considerable restraint to begin another alphabet trawl!

    2. Bad luck Ian. It’s been tough recently. But glad to see you keep coming back. It’s enjoyable hearing about your progress (or not progress as sometimes occurs) 👍

    3. That’s a real sign of progress Ian. It’s frustrating to have a DNF, but take heart from your improving solving skills.

    4. V tough week! hoping it gets easier – just under 30 mins with lots of dictionary help!

  17. FOI STAGGER and LOI SOLOIST but with a TYPO at 11d (PROtHETIC) and what was going to be an on target solve in 8:09. Grrr!

  18. A few days off has meant I’ve saved up the puzzles to do on a keyboard instead of my phone. Today’s was the easiest of the three for me. Monday was a little over target, yesterday a couple of minutes over, and today at the quicker end of my target range.

    ARRANT was my LOI, and I liked EVENHANDEDLY.


  19. A relatively straightforward 12 minutes for me, with no real hold-ups, just a few clues needing more than one visit. I didn’t spot the COLLECT = PRAYER bit, but it had to be the answer, so went in unparsed. Thanks both.

  20. I would not have picked notorious=ARRANT at 4d myself.
    3d hobby=BAG?
    Thought 11d was going to be anagram of P HIT OUT AS, which delayed me a lot. Fodder was COPPER HIT.
    Was asleep at 24a COLLOCTeR, which is a legit spelling but nothing to do with the clue!

  21. 33:10 grindtastic but at least it was a successful solve.

    I don’t know what’s happened to Hurley. Last year I had five of my SCC escapes from his QCs. Looking back at the latter half of the year, I averaged 26mins on the twelve he set with only two taking more than half an hour. This year, he’s set seven and I’ve averaged 35-mins with only two under thirty minutes.

    Today’s I had to work up from the bottom. The SW was quick but everything after that took time. It was interesting that I couldn’t unravel EVENHANDEDLY with E-E—–LY but as soon as the H from unravelling PROPHETIC went in, I saw it. Had the same problem with MEAN/NEAR as someone above and didn’t understand COLLECT relating to prayer.

    In the NE, I struggled with ARROW and SCRAP which probably should have been easy. And once I took a guess at the girl being DI’s; I got that. I’m sure someone will be along to complain about their aged wife Diana not being a girl.

    But the NW was where it seemed tough with AMATORY, ARRANT and COMPANIONWAY being words I’ve vaguely heard but never used. What is it with religion and boat stuff in this bloomin’ crossword?! Was slowed by thinking LEAD for “be in charge” and thinking a bedroom feature must be a LEADBOARD as in the metal Lead, so was thinking “lots” for a crowd. Saw STAGGER anagram very late and wasn’t helped by Hurley putting “name initially” which confused the matter when n=name seems obviously if you’re going to make it this tough.

    Another one for my chuck it in the f–k it bucket.

    1. Yes, I want to know what’s happened to Hurley too. I used to rate him as the easiest, with Izetti as the hardest. I now find Izetti is often quite accessible, while Hurley is causing me a lot of difficulty! I did finish this one, but it felt like I only just made it. NHO Companionway and didn’t know Arrant was notorious.

  22. I seem to be against trend today maybe because Companionway was well know. The top half went in first followed by SW then SE. 8:19 – pretty quick for me.

  23. Felt rather good as I seemed to be on the wavelength, solving HEADBOARD, COMPANIONWAY, COLLECTOR and EVENHANDEDLY straight away. Also managed the rest fairly quickly. But came to a halt at LOI ARRANT for which I eventually consulted the CCD. What a pity. NHO of it meaning notorious, and didn’t realise endless could be both ends of a word.
    Had also hesitated about hobby=bag, but biffed correctly. Liked EVASIVE and most of those mentioned above. (Just seen an error, like Ian I put Strop instead of SCRAP.)
    Thanks vm, Doofers.

  24. I found this one fairly straightforward. From HOST to SOLOIST in 7:47. Thanks Hurley and Doofers.

  25. 11:09

    Didn’t really get going with this. Top third was something of a struggle, even taking an age to spot the STAGGER anagram. NHO NEAR = miserly. LOI COMPANIONWAY which I have heard of before but had to dredge up from the depths even with all checkers.

    Thanks H and D

  26. I was another with fingers crossed for NEAR (LOI) and BAG but all green in 21:05. Thought this was going to be a really tough one when nothing at all came to me in the first few minutes but gradually the light dawned. COMPANIONWAY was easy as a yachtsman and EVENHANDEDLY came quickly once I realised it was an anagram. Wasn’t sure about ARRANT either but felt it had to be. Thanks Hurley and doofers.

  27. Still pondering about why this didn’t feel accessible. First clue is a good example – “Be in charge of business group producing bedroom feature”

    If Hurley had said “part of a bed”, it would have been biffable. Us thickies need a good biff. Even then we could be thinking about bedspreads, vallances, double sheets etc, etc. But “bedroom feature” that could be all sorts of things in a bedroom.

    “Business group” for board … usually it’s “executives” for a board. Would it have been so bad to at least give us that bit?

    And “Be in charge” = head. “in charge” is usually short for IC so the clue could take you off down that kind of route. I went for LEAD because I had the A of amatory. But was then thinking it was some feature of a bedroom I’ve never heard of. This is what happens when you put other answers like companionway, collector, near in your QC.

    Really needed that clue to be a gimme, given that four of the five downs (AMATORY, BAG, ARRANT, DISCOURSE) weren’t easy either. Instead we got a clue with two tougher components and a tough def.

    1. Perhaps over thinking it? I am a typical 20-30 minute solver so far from expert, yet Headboard was an obvious write-in for me today. Sometimes you just get onto the wavelength of the setter. I found this one today an easier than normal solve. In my view clues should not be biffable at all, otherwise what is the point? It should require some thought to untangle the word play. It also requires working with the whole clue. To take one of your examples; ‘in charge’ does often signal IC but in this case the clue said ‘be in charge of’, the ‘of’ being important to signal that it is not going to be IC.

      1. Overthinking it? I’m not sure how I’ll improve without some reflection on what happened and where/why I struggled.

        If you don’t think clues should be biffable, how do you ever solve a double def?!

        My biffing is probably not true biffing (i.e. bunged in from definition) like the elites where they just see the def and never parse the whole clue because they know the answer fits. Biffing for me usually still involves parsing the parts of the clue or get an idea of the answer from some of the wordplay.

  28. Well it was easier than the last couple of days but no gimme was my interpretation of todays offering from Hurley. I finished inside target at 8.28 for the first time this week. I was held up a little by my LOI COMPANIONWAY, where the COMPANION part eluded me for longer than it should. It’s interesting looking at the comments above that this appears to be most people’s LOI, apart from a select few (including our esteemed blogger Doofers) who had it as their FOI! A peculiar anomaly.

  29. Found this one a mixed bag with plenty that went in first time round (FOI was AYR), but some words that were unknown – AMATORY, ARRANT and COMPANIONWAY, my LOI. I remembered NEAR from previous puzzles, so that wasn’t a problem. Time was 16:04. Thanks Hurley and Doofers.

  30. 15 minutes for me, with all parsed except for 23ac RUT – never thought of the deer connection. This is at the faster end of the scale for me and I was helped by seeing the two long across clues almost immediately. A much better experience today than the last two days.

    FOI – 6ac AYR
    LOI – 4dn ARRANT
    COD – 24ac COLLECTOR, closely followed by 1ac HEADBOARD

    Thanks to Hurley and to Doofenschmirtz

  31. Nearly everything went straight in, with the exception of LOI ‘NEAR’. I assumed it was a double definition, but was totally unaware of ‘near’ meaning miserly – so I put in the one definition that I was aware of and that fitted with the E and R checkers that I had.

    1. I didn’t have a problem with NEAR = miserly; maybe it’s old-fashioned, approaching obsolete?

  32. DNF in 14.48. In a similar vein to Doofenschmirtz I had been vaguely wondering if ADROP was a kind of arrow. When I finally got DISCOURSE I bunged in STRIP instead of SCRAP. Pah.

  33. Held up by HEADBOARD, HOST and (NHO) COMPANIONWAY, but eventually the quickest so far this week. FOI HOST, LOI AWE. Nothing stood out as COD, but there were no bad clues either. Thanks Hurley and Doofs.

  34. Another one I found hard, especially as the long COMPANIONWAY was unknown to me as a landlubber, so had to look it up. Some odd (to me) definitions: ARRANT, NEAR, RUT and yet another horrid clue involving ‘girl’s name’. NW corner took a while. I am with SandyG above.

  35. Slow but steady progress finishing in just under 20 mins. ARRANT was a stretch and NEAR was new to me. HEADBOARD, HOST and ARRANT were LOIs respectively. Liked surface for TYPO. Glad to have finished a QC at last. Monday/Tuesday I found rather tricky and didn’t have time to go beyond a 20 min cut-off.
    Many thanks all

  36. I’m an intermittent QC solver, as I have to leave time for other things like feeding the cat. I’ve done several in the last week or two, though, and I do agree that the level seems a tad tougher than say a year or two ago. I also aim to do the Saturday Jumbo regularly; very rarely a 15 x 15. ‘NEAR’ = ‘miserly’ seemed obscure to me, as did ‘ARRANT’ = ‘notorious’ and I struggled with EVASIVE – but a good puzzle today, and the difficulty level still – happily – well short of the ‘full’ Times cryptics! Thanks, as ever, to all setters (who go tirelessly on, despite all complaints!) and bloggers.

  37. We still don’t understand why hobby indicates bag. Can anyone explain please? It’s not in either Oxford nor Collins, nor in The CCD.

    1. I recall hippies in the 60s saying ‘what’s your bag man?’
      Nowadays they would say ‘what floats your boat?’
      So I guess it was slang for ‘interest’ which could include ‘hobby’
      Bit if a stretch though. Especially if you weren’t alive in the 60s.

    2. It is in Collins, Eliza – you just have to scroll a rather long way down to sense 11 of British English!

      There you will find “11. slang
      a person’s particular taste, field of skill, interest, activity, etc
      blues is his bag”

  38. Dnf…

    22 min for everything apart from 10ac “Companionway” which just wouldn’t come. I then went back and found that I had 3dn wrong – I put “Bug”, which I thought was the best of a bad bunch of options. The whole “Austin Powers” thing felt far too niche and specific. I don’t recall “Near” meaning “Miserly” either, although it couldn’t be anything else.

    Not turning into a great week this.

    FOI – 6ac “Ayr”
    LOI – dnf
    COD – 24ac “Collector” – maybe it should have been clued: “Prayer or stamps maybe this person’s bag?”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Collins online has “ a person’s particular taste, field of skill, interest, activity, etc” as the 11th (!) definition of “bag”. I wasn’t there, but perhaps others will know whether it was commonly used in the 60s.

      1. I was a raver/groover in the 60s but NHO bag=hobby.
        But, come to think of it, I did remember Near=miserly.

  39. Much milder than the past few days – thanks, Hurley. Funny how different we all are; I found the bottom half all doable, also the extreme NE corner, but the NW / N much less so. May I suggest that although (yes) “staggered” can mean “surprised”, and “staggering” can mean “surprising”, STAGGER can never mean surprise? NHO BAG (to = hobby); NHO Austin Powers (who he?). NHO ARRANT (to = notorious). NHO COMPANIONWAY; on the other hand SOLOIST and EVASIVE were no problem. By the way my FOI was EVENHANDEDLY which just sprung out. I agree with some above, COD RUT.

    1. As per the blog: prayer = collect (The collect is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy), and or = or. Then the rest of the clue is the definition.

      1. Sorry I was being slow. I did know COLLECT = prayer; my problem was COLLECT-OR which I now see is irrelevant to prayer. Thanks for the helping hand. In fact (forgive me) I’ve now removed that question from my message (above).

    2. I think you can replace “stagger” with “surprise” when you’re using it as a verb, as in “This will stagger them”. Austin Powers is a film character, a spoof on the James Bond genre, from 1997.

      1. I see (stagger) – ok, thanks. I presume Austin Powers is reckoned fair game as general knowledge…….

    3. Sense 2 of STAGGER in Collins – “2. (transitive)
      to astound or overwhelm, as with shock”

      1. OK – in that case my NHO is merely ignorance. Thanks.
        Afterthought: *do* you really say “This will stagger them!” ?
        What do others think?

  40. I used to find Hurley the most do-able of the primary setters – but no more. So, I had to settle in for yet another session of torture.

    I ended up spending 30 minutes over my last 7 clues (COMPANIONWAY, HEADBOARD, HOST, DISCOURSE ARRANT, EVASIVE and NEAR). I did get them all in the end, but I hadn’t come across some of the definitions and had to trust to luck.

    Total time = 49 minutes

    Many thanks to Hurley and Doofers.

  41. Late to this after golf – and yes, we did get wet and it was windy.
    LOI by some measure was the unknown-to- me Companionway which had to be ground out of the cryptic.
    Otherwise no particular problems but progress was not quick.

  42. Got nowhere near solving this puzzle. Looking at the blog I don’t really know why. But anyway I was miles off finishing after ages……Fred

  43. I found this puzzle very approachable. Had to trust 19d near and 3d bag but otherwise all very straightforward and familiar terminology/GK. Much helped by spotting 10a, 17a, 24a straightaway.
    FOI 6a Ayr
    LOI 13a Ruse (with relief as I expected ‘roos would feature, or maybe rook – but no Aus connection). Was a long time with 5d which explains why this was LOI.
    COD 20a Taunt.
    After a couple of stinkers, this was a relief and completed over a Costa.

  44. 15:30. Like the blogger I assumed quarrel must be leading to ARROW but then thought, wait, we already have ARROW for an answer. Gangway came to mind right away and served to obscure COMPANIONWAY for quite a stretch. I didn’t have a problem with the MERs others have mentioned but I didn’t quite see foretold=PROPHETIC. Prophesied I feel is the synonym and prophetic doesn’t seem to be the same.

  45. Found this much the same difficulty level as yesterday. Really struggled with HEADBOARD, even though I solved this with my head propped up against one. Liked TYPO, RUT, STAGGER and COLLECTOR in particular.

    All done in 08:44 for 1.4K and a Good Day.

    Many thanks Doofers and Hurley.


  46. Strange how we perceive things differently. Hurley was my nemesis when I began solving QCs, but I now find him one of the more enjoyable setters.

    I was on wavelength for an SCC escape, finishing in 17 mins. To me, this was the perfect QC in terms of difficulty, but that is of course a highly subjective viewpoint.

    NHO COMPANIONWAY, but worked out from the checkers. Didn’t know NEAR means miserly or ARRANT for notorious.

    COD – RUT. Brilliant!

    Great blog as always.

    PS Agree with L-Plates about not needing ‘initially’ in 8ac. Don’t see what it added.

  47. Another puzzle seemingly designed to discourage those of us who live in the SCC. Several very obscure meanings of words (see assorted comments above).

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