Times Quick Cryptic No 2387 by Hurley

Solving time: 07:25

I’m double-definitioned out! There are four to solve in this Hurley crossword capped with the crowning glory of a triple definition at 18d.

It all began rather sedately with just three inked in on the first pass of the across clues, however a bumper crop of gentle down clues turned the tide.

COD to 5d for its mildly cryptic definition.

What did you think?

Definitions are underlined in bold italics, {deletions and substitutions are in curly brackets} and [directions in square ones].

1 Flatter, taking in 100, in plant (9)
BUTTERCUP – BUTTER UP (Flatter) taking in C (Roman numeral for 100)
6 Fashionable greeting, quiet (3)
HIP – HI (greeting) P (short for piano = quiet)

p (piano) is the dynamic musical instruction for ‘soft’

8 One in gallery tour car on the move (7)
CURATOR – Anagram [on the move] of TOUR CAR
9 Diving apparatus from southern country (5)
SCUBA – S (southern) CUBA (country)

SCUBA is an acronym for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus coined by Christian J Lambertsen in a patent submitted in 1952.

10 Blue — he’d adore new sporting contest (6-6)

A sporting event in which two games or contests are played in succession at the same venue.

12 Get different boat in (6)
OBTAIN – Anagram [different] of BOAT IN
13 Run without partner (6)
SINGLE – Double definition

In the game of cricket, one run is also called a SINGLE

16 Taking complete control to attain rail reforms (12)
TOTALITARIAN – Anagram [reforms] of TO ATTAIN RAIL
19 Guy initially is all enthusiasm (5)
MANIA – MAN (Guy) plus first letters [initially] of I{s} A{ll}

While MANIA might be more akin to excessive enthusiasm, it is enthusiasm nevertheless?

20 Scorn energy drinks editor returned (7)
DESPISE – E (energy) SIPS (drinks) ED (editor) all reversed [returned]
22 Part of spring article this writer’s penned (3)
MAY – A (indefinite article) contained [penned] within MY (this writer’s)
23 In from France entering passage, temporary (9)
TRANSIENT – EN (French for ‘in’) inserted into [entering] TRANSIT (passage)
1 Airline supported by Church composer (4)
BACH – BA (airline – British Airways) CH (church)

At least twenty different composers named BACH to choose from according to Wikipedia, many of whom were related…

2 End up seeing number who attended (7)
TURNOUT – Double definition, the first as in ‘How will things turn out/end up?’
3 Dine in Meath (3)
EAT – Hidden [in] in Meath

Possibly the easiest ‘hidden’ ever?

4 Copper right — not many for stay-at-home order (6)
CURFEW – CU (copper – chemical symbol) R (right) FEW (not many)
5 Seat advertisement with rigour oddly abandoned (9)
POSTERIOR – POSTER (advertisement) plus {r}I{g}O{u}R [oddly abandoned i.e. the odd letters left out]

The mildly cryptic definition of ‘Seat’ in this case refers to one’s backside.

6 Continually harass pack member? (5)
HOUND – Our third double definition

Pack member as in one of a number of dogs

7 Couple crossing river — that is plain (7)
PRAIRIE – PAIR (couple) with R (river) inserted [‘crossing’ is not perhaps the ideal indicator – used here to make the clue scan better?] then IE (that is – id est in Latin)
11 Splendid gem (9)
BRILLIANT – A fourth double definition

In the second case, BRILLIANT is a noun, being ‘a diamond of brilliant cut’

12 After work note mother is best (7)
OPTIMUM – After OP (short for the Latin word opus meaning ‘work’) comes TI (note) and MUM (mother)
14 Building material rating revised by English (7)
GRANITE – Anagram [revised] of RATING by E (English)
15 Thanks detective engaged by South America for sporting venues (6)
STADIA – TA (Thanks) DI (detective – D.I. = Detective Inspector) contained within [engaged by] SA (South America)
17 Funny to get new start delivering fish (5)
TUNNY – T {f}UNNY – Replace first letter [get new start] of FUNNY with another letter to get a fish

Alternative name for tuna

18 Radicals quit side (4)
LEFT – Triple definition
21 Relative in distress I saved (3)
SIS – Hidden [in] in distress I saved


67 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2387 by Hurley”

  1. 14:50. I couldn’t see what quit was doing in the clue for LEFT but finally saw it was a third definition! As Mike says in his blog a DOUBLE-HEADER consists of 2 sporting contests, so I don’t like the definition as “sporting contest” (singular). DESPISE took me the longest to solve, especially since I couldn’t get “disdain” out of my head.

  2. Same problem as curryowen with DESPISE; having rejected DISDAIN, I waited for the checkers and made it my LOI. 6:35.

  3. 3! 3 crosswords ruined by typos! A-ha-ha-ha-ha!

    1. Welcome to my world ! I lose at least three a week with fat finger 😂

  4. CURATOR, TURNOUT and TUNNY caused the biggest delays, the latter because I had the T and thought it was too simple – plus I’ve never heard of it! All green in 15.

  5. 13:18 Scottish forces retake Berwick-upon-Tweed

    Smooth sailing, with just a bit of panic over LOI LEFT. I thought it would be a triple def, but still took some time to see it.

    I think “sporting fixture” would have been the best way to explain a DOUBLE HEADER.

    COD PRAIRIE which I carefully constructed before seeing the other meaning of plain.

    Misread the easy SCUBA as “driving apparatus” so was trying CLUTCH, BRAKE etc. OPTIMAL was close for OPTIMUM, with mother = MA, so I left the last couple of squares empty until I was sure.

  6. Hoorah! I actually finished one. All green in 20:36, and if I hadn’t pondered long and hard over LEFT I’d have been well under 20. Oh well, at least I’m slightly reassured that I’m not totally losing my faculties, what with my dismal showing of late. I liked BUTTERCUP, POSTERIOR and TRANSIENT especially.
    It’s a lovely morning here in Dorset with the promise of a long-awaited proper spring day.

    1. Losing your faculties? When we met for a coffee a couple of weeks ago my perception was that you still possess more faculties than I started out with.
      All the best, SRC

      1. Ha! That’s very kind of you Mr Random Chap. You must’ve caught me on a good day!

  7. In my mind, a DOUBLE-HEADER will always be a train pulled by two locomotives.

    TIME 4:59 (close shave !)

  8. 9 minutes. I’d no idea about DOUBLE-HEADER although the answer was obvious enough. It sounded vaguely familiar, and having read Busman’s comment above, I think I may have heard of it in my train-spotting days which ended around 1960.

  9. Nothing too tricky today and got off to a good start with BUTTERCUP and several offshoots going straight in. I made hard work of my last two in – SINGLE and DESPISE where I forgot to lift and separate. MER at the loose definition for DOUBLE-HEADER but other than that an enjoyable solve.
    Finished in 7.27
    Thanks to Mike

  10. BUTTERCUP and HIP went straight in but then I slowed down a bit. I liked the triple LEFT. Thanks Hurley and Mike. 4:57.

  11. Exactly the same time as Merlin. I didn’t find anything too difficult, apart from being unsure of BRILLIANT as a noun, but couldn’t build up a good head of speed to finish more quickly. In the end I was happy to miss a typo by checking the anagram fodder and making sure that TOTALITARIAN was spelt correctly.

    I liked the LEFT triple def to go with the four double defs.

    Thanks to Hurley and Mike

  12. Another actual QC – things are looking up? It was not without its difficulties for me but I enjoyed this. I missed 1a on first pass and jumped about a bit but was comfortably within target at 13.29 (all parsed). I had the same difficulties as others with DESPISE and my LOI was TURNOUT (d’oh). I agree with Busman; a ‘double-header’ takes me back to train-spotting.
    Thanks to both. John M.

    1. Two train-spotters today! You have something in common with Dvořák, then. (Sorry, I preferred buses.)

  13. Did this on the train, only to be joined by a loud party of over excited people off for a jolly in London. (When I am World Dictator, people who talk loudly on trains will be summarily executed.) Put AirPods in to block them out. Phone froze, but puzzle time kept ticking. It was like an anxiety dream made flesh.

    Anyway. I reckon I could legitimately knock 90 seconds off my 09:41 for all that kerfuffle, but the record books still say 09:41.

    I liked OBTAIN, MANIA and BUTTERCUP (COD); I didn’t much like DOUBLE HEADER or TURNOUT.

    Many thanks Hurley and Mike.


    1. Ha! – Message to World Dictator: aren’t mobiles “I’m on the train” even worse?

  14. Considering that Buttercup, Brilliant and Double Header were all write-ins, I had to work really hard to avoid a sub-20, but I was ably assisted by Totalitarian, Despise and Granite. Like others, it was hard to get past disdain for 20ac, but no real excuses for granite, where I completely missed the anagram and thought I was looking for something starting with Grade 🙄. I will probably need a good natter with the coach driver to get over it. . . Invariant

  15. Completed correctly in 20:13. My first try against the clock. The POI was the difficult DESPISE at 19:58. As others I spent too long distracred by DISDAIN.
    Otherwise relatively straightforward.
    COD and LOI – LEFT.
    Thanks to setter and Mike

  16. As with yesterdays puzzle I seemed to be on the setters wavelength, crossing the line in 8.56. DOUBLE HEADER held me up somewhat as I had to write all the letters of the anagram out before the answer came to mind. The term was very familiar to me so not a problem. I spent longer on my LOI than any other clue, and it took a while before TURNOUT dawned on me.

  17. 11:25 (1125 Henry III reissues Magna Carta)

    LOI was DOUBLE HEADER. I am not familiar with this as a sporting contest. I agree with Busman – I have only heard it used in a railway context.


  18. Managed to finish in 18.20 somewhere over the mid-Atlantic en route to England while resting in BA’s finest madhouse of a cabin layout, truly designed by someone that has never either travelled or worked in an aeroplane. No rowdies to disturb the concentration and a plentiful supply of wine to assist in a doze. COD BUTTERCUP
    Thanks all.

  19. Taken into the SCC by LEFT. I hate DDs – triple definitions are even worse! My brain tends to shut down when I see this sort of clue. I thought DOUBLE HEADER was an informal football competition akin to keepie-uppie 😆 Didn’t know BRILLIANT as noun. Enjoyed the gentle BUTTERCUP. Many thanks Hurley and Mike.

  20. DNF. Not a brilliant showing at 23:53, especially as I had all but my last three in about 16. BUTTERCUP, TURNOUT and POSTERIOR were the issue. After TURNOUT eventually arrived (with a bit of help), BUTTERCUP and POSTERIOR swiftly followed. Thanks Hurley and Mike

  21. Very similar to yesterday in terms of difficulty and time.

    LOI was DESPISE. I liked BUTTERCUP and the triple def LEFT (concision in clues being a plus point in my book).


  22. NHO DOUBLE HEADER, so I had to rely on crossers and the anagrist. Apart from that no dramas. EAT was FOI and POSTERIOR brought up the rear, so to speak. 9:04. Thanks Hurley and Mike.

  23. Not as exciting as SteakCity’s mid-Atlantic, but did this in dentist’s waiting room. On the wavelength with good start, BUTTERCUP and BACH. Zoomed round, pausing to write out the anagram for DOUBLE HEADER.
    On return from Pilates, solved the final SINGLE, DESPISE & LEFT, latter requiring an alphabet trawl, but, groan, so obvious when you finally get it.
    Re SINGLE, and other cricketing clues, am now benefiting from all those school cricket matches I felt obliged to watch when my sons played.
    I didn’t know SCUBA was an acronym. Interesting. Thanks, Mike.

  24. I completed this one in slow time, though needed help with several clues. Didn’t like 18d. Radicals = left? Can’t radicals be on the right?

    Did not know Double-Header. I felt that was another poor clue.

    Enjoyed it to a point though not overly impressed with it.

    1. The closest definition of ‘radical’ that I could find was ‘A member of the most progressive wing of the Liberal Party; someone favouring social reform (but generally stopping short of socialism)’.

      Perhaps ‘LEFTISH’ might have been a closer definition.

    2. In RU there have been London double headers for the last few years (Covid excepted), where two London teams, Saracens and London Irish, say, play two other teams (one each! ☺) on the same day, usually at Twickenham.

  25. I completed this in just under 10 minutes and initially thought it was workmanlike without anything too special about it. No MERs, no great PDMs, and only one minor query, which is that I didn’t quite see what “continually” is doing in 6d* – the clue would I think work as well without it. (*not 6a as I originally wrote!)

    On reflection, and having read the comments above, I am slightly revising my opinion and perhaps “workmanlike” is a little damning with faint praise – it is an art in itself to create a smooth puzzle that has no obvious rough edges or glaring weaknesses.

    Rare to see the word Tunny these days; even in common speech the fish is far more often called Tuna. In fact the main thing “Tunny” brings to mind for me is one of the German code machines that Bletchley Park had to solve in the War.

    Many thanks to Mike for the blog

  26. 16 mins…

    Nothing too difficult I thought, although there were quite a few double definitions and obviously the triple one for 18dn.

    I also couldn’t get “disdain” out of my head for 20ac, which felt more appropriate for “scorn” than “despise”.

    FOI – 6ac “Hip”
    LOI – 18dn “Left”
    COD – 5dn “Posterior”

    Thanks as usual!

  27. 13 minutes with LOI LEFT (I wasn’t looking for a triple-def initially, liked it when I saw it). For a moment or two I wondered if there was a newfound building material called GRATINE until the penny dropped. Thanks all.

  28. I thought I had done really well to finish in 11 minutes only to find that I had completely misunderstood 18D. I was convinced before I got the crossers that the solution would be either WEST or EAST so when DESPISE went in it had to be WEST. I parsed this by thinking that the radicals were WETS and that the swapping of the S and the T was somehow justified by the word QUIT. I know – it doesn’t make any sense!!

    1. I did exactly the same thing re “Wets/West” – yet again, Mr SR saved the day.
      Knew about “TUNNY” fish from my reading of Jilly Cooper books – she resolutely uses “tunny” instead of “tuna” and, in her book “Class” (a late 70s nonfiction book, presumably inspired by “U and Non-U”), says “tunny” is used by the upper and upper-middle classes.
      I’ve never heard anyone use it in real life – make of that what you will… 🙂

  29. Back to a more normal time after yesterday’s lengthy solve but alas one wrong answer. I had dislike for despise (no, of course I couldn’t parse it). Other than that a pleasant solve completed in 17 minutes, although a bit of a MER at DOUBLE-HEADER.

    FOI – 6ac HIP
    LOI – would have been 20ac DESPISE had I been able to solve it.
    COD – 5dn POSTERIOR with 1ac BUTTERCUP a close second.

    Thanks to Hurley and Mike

  30. Phew! Got there in the end. Two easy ones: HIP (FOI) and EAT; no problem with DESPISE or LEFT; but SINGLE somewhat biffed, also NHO DOUBLE-HEADER (DNK much about any sport). COD BUTTERCUP; LOI GRANITE (instead of SINGLE I had biffed MANAGE, hence on the wrong track for ages). Thanks to Hurley (whose last one was also friendly) and to Mike for the blog.

  31. All done and dusted in exactly 20 minutes – just as I was being greeted by the SCC doorman. And, unlike yesterday, no nasty surprises when reading through Mike’s excellent blog.

    My FOI was HIP, but I only solved two more of the acrosses on my first pass. The downs, however, were much more to my liking and their checkers enabled me to make sense of the acrosses second tim around. I enjoyed BUTTERCUP when I finally got it, and the only NHO/DNK today was TUNNY.

    Mrs Random is a few days behind with her QCs at the moment. It’s the gardening season and everything else has to give way, especially when the weather is as nice as it is today. Momentous news from our little patch of wild flower meadow (which was sown five years ago): For the first time, we have two cowslips. Hopefully, more to come next year. We’re still waiting for our first wild orchid, though.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Mike H.

    1. We have for the first time this year allowed our small patch of grass (usually mown to within an inch of its life) to run wild – the “No Mow In May” concept (aka the “Mower Is Broken” concept). Signs of flowers I didn’t know we had are emerging, and many many more bees and other insects than usual …

    2. Remember to leave the cowslip to seed. I put protection round the first we had, possibly nearly 20 years ago, to prevent the seeds being mown off and now we have hundreds!

      1. Mrs Random says “Thankyou very much for the tip”. She will do exactly as you suggest. Mrs R is a very keen gardener, and quite talented with it, IMHO.

    3. Wow! About half a minute faster than me. Hurley must be on our wavelength today.
      Congratulations on the cowslips. I think I’m right in saying that these wild flower meadows, that are all the rage these days, need resowing every year. Mrs ITTT has just sown another one in our front garden today, funnily enough, since the one we planted two years ago came up as just a bed of weeds last year.

  32. Perhaps I’m still jetlagged as this took me 19 minutes.
    I was slow to get a number of clues and just had to work them out methodically.
    LOI SINGLE; how often do I get caught out in cricket!

  33. I am way outside any of you ppl here for a finishing time. What I can do sometimes is get the right answer without quite knowing how. This is unsatisfactory. We don’t have this paper every day so I am not very well practised in the dark arts of cryptic crosswords. 😉 I still enjoy the challenge, however, and appreciate a well crafted clue. 😀

    1. In spite of its name, I believe the site welcomes comments from all without insisting on a time. Many of us never put a precise time. I deliberately don’t as it would create pressure for me, thereby increasing the time and decreasing the pleasure. If I did, I suspect it would be slower than most. However, I do give an indication as the difficulty of puzzles here varies quite a bit, and I am interested to see how often* others agree with my experience of an easy or hard solve, so, getting feedback, it is fair that I should also give feedback. I sometimes put in answers on a hunch which I agree is unsatisfactory, but always come to the blog to see how the clue is constructed. I recommend the blog to anyone who enjoys the QC challenge, and it has helped considerably to improve my performance.
      *Agreement is probably less than one might expect. When the concensus is a difficult puzzle which I find easy or vice versa happens for well over 20%of puzzles. There is even greater disagreement when individual clues are mentioned.

    2. I’m always here to tell you of my ups and downs … yesterday I took 51-mins. Today was notably faster but I hope my posts can encourage other solvers to take pride in how they do – for better or worse

  34. 14:34 About half done on the first pass and most of the rest came easily enough from the checkers. TUNNY rang only a distant bell, but it was DESPISE that took 3 minutes at the end. Thanks both.

  35. A good example of a QUICK Crossword, which took me a little under my average time. Only mild problems, namely little known DOUBLE-HEADER but kindly clued, and the unusual triple definition LEFT,but a lovely surface. FOI EAT, LOI LEFT, COD TOTALITARIAN. BUTTERCUP took ages as I spent too long thinking of FLATTER as an adjective, rather than a verb. Thanks Hurley and Mike.

  36. Late to the party following an emergency return from Mallorca to the UK. My pilot son was hit in the eye by a golf ball and the initial prognosis was he would need surgery. Fortunately the news is now positive and the eye doctor is predicting a full recovery in two weeks without surgery. Needless to say I forgot to pack my cryptic crossword brain. Anyway back to the QC. FOI BACH. I struggled to see BUTTERCUP but enjoyed the PDM later in the solve. I had GUNNY as the fish but that was easily corrected. My penultimate solve was the unknown DOUBLE-HEADER and my LOI was BRILLIANT which I dug out of the Crosswordland dictionary. 8:56 and I’m scoring that as an excellent day.

    1. Crikey, what a day. Delighted to hear he’s better than expected. Best of luck to you all.

    2. Glad to hear that the prognosis is good. It must have been very distressing for you all.

  37. 17.05 – pleased with that after recent Hurley’s. Actually have had one quicker earlier in the year but mostly they’ve been 30+ mins. Left it until this evening as I wasn’t sure my brain was on it this morning.

    My first pass of the clues was quicker than usual – around 3-mins albeit I missed a couple. Didn’t have much outside of the 3-letter words EAT, SIS, HIP, BACH, STADIA, CURFEW, SCUBA, CURATOR, DOUBLE-HEADER. Actually that’s quite a good selection when I look at it.

    After that I felt like I was going slowly but not grinding. Gradually got things together. HOUND, I almost bunged in “hourd” for a bad version of horde (pack). Was expecting something more complicated on TUNNY and only vaguely heard of it. But maybe that’s why it was uncomplicated.

    Couldn’t unravel OBTAIN on its own and the one clue I didn’t much like was TURNOUT. That only came once BUTTERCUP went in which itself needed the P of POSTERIOR which was my COD.

    LOI was LEFT. Had initially put “reds” there until TRANSIENT went in. Had a minor panick that I might be here for ages alphabet trawling but fortunately it popped in there after just 15secs.

    Pleased with that 👍

  38. Nice QC with a time somewhere in the SCC (can I claim citizenship there?). As a lover of steam trains, I too claim DOUBLE HEADER is a railway term!

  39. Smashing QC. Everything gettable and about six chewy enough to challenge. More like this, Ed, after some extremely difficult ones recently.

  40. 25:35

    All seemed easy enough but struggled with DOUBLE HEADER. Why is that a sporting event. Anyway came really unstuck spending 5 mins on LOI SINGLE.

  41. Another awful day in QC land. On for an SCC escape until 20ac. Took me 20 mins to go from D-S-I-E to the answer. Woeful barely begins to describe it.

    From the checkers alone it should have been obvious, but I was convinced the word ended DE because editor came at the end of the clue. I didn’t realise that the order of the words was backwards as well as the words themselves. Am I just being totally thick, because that is how I feel?

    What is so frustrating is that I regularly get at least half the clues on the first pass, but then a form of panic takes over, particularly when it comes to the final clue.

    Thanks for the blog.

    1. Oh GA 🙄 it ain’t happening for you, is it? May I offer my customary word of advice – it is expectations that kill us. We can have no fear or panic living in the now. To put it more mundanely, about two weeks ago during my bad run of form, I downgraded my expectations to simply getting a completion. Since then it has (usually been) an enjoyable experience. I am still excitable about my times but somehow not invested in them – they are just noted and the records are accruing with a general positive trend which is what I look to for satisfaction.

      As for your query – you’re not totally thick. Not even slightly thick 😀 As for the clue itself, sometimes the “returned” would have related to simply reversing “ed” and putting it at the end; other times it would be like today. I don’t believe there’s a way of knowing other than to try the variations.

      1. Thanks L-Plates. I appreciate you taking the time to set out that advice and you are absolutely right about the pressure of expectations. My dip began when I started setting a target of 5 solves in 2 hours each week.

        I am going to follow that advice and just think about completing tomorrow’s QC, with a good time being a bonus.

        Thanks again.😊

        PS I’ll remember what you say about ‘returned’. Just got a bit fixated on one interpretation of it today.

  42. A very enjoyable QC. Finished in 15:37 (a third 37 in a row after Monday’s 21:37 and 20:37 yesterday). Thought it was a bit tricky in places so I was expecting slower times from everybody. Just shows what I know. LOI DESPISE, COD PRAIRIE. Thanks Hurley and Mike.

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