Times Quick Cryptic No 2448 by Hurley

About average difficulty, but I felt like I was helped along by a few bits and pieces still fresh from recent puzzles.

I forget which puzzle it was, but it meant the horse at 17ac went straight in from wordplay more than the helpful definition. And BID (at 19ac) was still stuck in my head (as an incorrect synonym for “offer” in yesterday’s 12ac in the 15×15). Those and some other bits ushered me along to a breezy 6.01 in an otherwise poor solving week, so many thanks to Hurley!

Anagram indicators in italics.

1 With no crops cut, aunt lived unhappily (12)
9 Prepared for conflict having worked land, though not initially (5)
ARMED – fARMED (having worked land), “though not initially”
10 Greatly enrage one, note — unfortunate scene (7)
INCENSE – I (one) N(ote) and an unfortunate SCENE
11 Drink,   neither vegetable nor animal (7)
MINERAL – double definition: the first as in a (dated?) term for a soft drink; the second as in “vegetable, animal or mineral”
12 Soldier carrying king’s coat (5)
PARKA -PARA (soldier) carrying K(ing)
13 Exclaim woman’s wearing this bright colour (6)
CHERRY – CRY (exclaim) that HER (woman) is wearing / is in
14 Support   runner-up (6)
SECOND – double definition, the first as a verb.
17 Go over main points again as horse is backed? (5)
RECAP – PACER is our horse, reversed
19 An attempt at home — eager at heart to become permanent (7)
ABIDING – A (an) BID (attempt) IN (at home) G (eaGer “at heart”)
21 New cola? Right: that is item of interest to slimmers (7)
CALORIENew COLA, R(ight) I.E. (that is)
22 One living abroad, formerly linked to French island (5)
EXILE -EX (formerly) linked to ILE (French word for island). I was wondering where the sun-kissed shores of Pât might be.
23 British way — choosing actors for TV business (12)
BROADCASTING – B(ritish) ROAD (way) CASTING (choosing actors)
2 Candidate not backing away, this writer’s choice in the end (7)
NOMINEE – NOt “backing away”, MINE (this writer’s) E (choicE “in the end”)
3 With inadequate amount done in advance, rep endured rap at work (13)
4 Dessertsmall bit (6)
TRIFLE – double definition
5 Something bad here I’d included identifying politician? (4,9)
VICE PRESIDENT – VICE (something bad) PRESENT (here) with I’D included
6 Male singer’s   general drift (5)
TENOR – double definition
7 Resistant to change? I’d heard differently (3-4)
DIE-HARD – I’D HEARD differently
8 Somewhat stoical maybe, not excited (4)
CALM – “somewhat” stoiCAL Maybe. Could pass as a semi-&lit.
13 Vegetable? Gosh! Not cheering Old Boy at first (4,3)
CORN COB – COR (gosh!) Not Cheering Old Boy “at first”
15 View of edible plant entertaining private investigator (7)
OPINION – ONION (edible plant) entertaining PI (private investigator)
16 Arrived with artist, snapped by this? (6)
CAMERA – CAME (arrived) with R.A. (artist)
18 Musical instrument in small room, old (5)
CELLO – CELL (small room) O(ld)
20 Being rewritten in part and increased in size (4)
GREW – beinG REWritten “in part”


84 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2448 by Hurley”

  1. Slow in getting ABIDING (BID was not in my memory), VICE PRESIDENT, & LOI UNCULTIVATED. MER at 13d: I would never have thought of a CORNCOB as a vegetable. 6:23.

      1. I’d say it was stretching a point, and I wasn’t keen. Corn on the cob is a vegetable that one would eat, but one wouldn’t eat the cob on its own.

        Would you class an apple core as a fruit?

        1. Technically you are correct that the cob is the central woody piece. However, ‘corncob’is now so frequently (incorrectly) used to mean the whole ‘corn on the cob’, especially in American English, that it must be acceptable in a QC.

      2. I think I may have muddied the waters here by asking ‘how corn cob isn’t A vegetable’, when I should have asked ‘ how is corn cob not vegetable’. There is a difference between being A vegetable and being vegetable (matter) IMHO.

  2. 11:23. Pretty quick for me. I didn’t think of CHERRY as a colour or CORNCOB as a vegetable. I enjoyed NOMINEE and BROADCASTING most.

  3. Like Kevin I was held up by the bid part of ABIDING, that and TRIFLE ( a simple answer that I simply could not see) stretched it out to 7.43. This was an enjoyable Hurley but I have three quibbles about definitions. (1) CORNCOB as mentioned above; (2) MINERAL – I’ve heard of mineral water but I’m unaware of anyone ever asking for ‘a mineral’; (3) DIE-HARD. I’m having trouble finding a way of substituting that for ‘resistant to change’ in a sentence. Here it’s clearly not a noun, but if it’s an adjective it doesn’t match up with ‘resistant to change.’ As in we might have a die-hard supporter, but we wouldn’t have a resistant to change supporter. We could have a change-resistant one. Does the ‘?’ mean we are expected to cut Hurley a bit of slack? I know these are TRIFLEs but I thought I’d let loose the inner pedant. Thanks to Roly for the blog, especially explaining CHERRY.

    1. Collins, sv mineral: a soft drink containing carbonated water and flavourings
      a die-hard supporter/a supporter resistant to change

  4. 8 minutes. I don’t have a problem with CORNCOB as a vegetable, nor understand why it wouldn’t be. MINERAL as a type of drink is okay too as a term covering all types of soft drink (carbonated or otherwise), water and mixers.

    Brits of my generation may remember a rather sedate panel show on TV in the 1950s called Animal, Vegetable, Mineral.

      1. I might describe banana peel as ‘fruit’ but not ‘a fruit’ as it’s the part of it that’s normally discarded and not served or eaten.

        The definition here is ‘vegetable?’ not a vegetable, so I would apply the same logic and let the question mark mitigate any possible doubts. However the comparison isn’t quite the same as corncob is often served on the plate with kernels attached for a vegetable dish called corn-on-the-cob. One may well see ‘corncob’ on a UK menu and if one ordered it one would know exactly what to expect.

        1. I just stuck in corncob assuming it was another term for corn-on-the-cob, but on a closer look I’m with Kevin on this: Collins, Chambers and the OED are all quite clear that the two are not interchangeable and that corncob is only the inner core. I reckon this should really have been specified (“vegetable waste” or the like) for the definition to make sense.

        2. Corncob is used all over the internet to mean ‘corn on the cob’. So frequently to be accepted usage to which the dictionaries have not yet caught upm. Seems fair then to include it in a QC

  5. Fast time (8:02) but with AFIXING for ABIDING.

    Not too much trouble, but maybe I lack that pedant gene, I cut the setter slack on eliding between parts of speech. Some good anagrams today.


  6. DNF beaten by one of those ‘simple’ double definitions that I referenced yesterday – they often do for me. Today TRIFLE simply wouldn’t come and of course now I wonder why.

    On the other hand SECOND went straight in.

    Otherwise a relatively straightforward solve with some nice challenges like ABIDING and CHERRY.

    Thanks Hurley and Roly.

  7. A nice puzzle but I was undone by ABIDING in the end. Two pinkies on submission so no time given, but definitely on the slow table today. No complaints.
    Thanks Hurley and Roly.

  8. Just over 10 minutes. As usual lately it took a while for the first clue to materialise from the anagram fodder. Slowly in after that, with EXILE my favourite; like rolytoly, I wondered where the unheard of Ile de Pât was situated

    Thanks to Hurley and rolytoly

  9. 14.54 .. generally okay but got bogged down in SE by bunging in AtryING and then trying to create a partial anagram of “being” while wondering about EXpat. Not overly happy with use of French language for island but it comes up regularly, so quit moaning LP and just learn it. Was surprised to see GREW, which I’d biffed, was a second hidden word. LOI CHERRY – had to hold back from bunging in cheers.

    No particular standout clues but for first time in a while this seemed a little gentler from Hurley. Only my 3rd SCC escape from him this year compared to 5 last year when I was much less able.

    Unlike Roly, not helped by recent crosswords as I don’t often attempt the 15×15. But thanks for the blog 👍

  10. Started with UNCULTIVATED and a number of its offshoots which set me up for a speedy solve. Didn’t think too hard about CORN COB or MINERAL as the wordplay was clear but needed all the checkers for ABIDING.
    Finished in a pleasingly round 5.00 with LOI CHERRY.
    Thanks to Roly.

  11. Not often I have a LOL moment from a blogger but ..was wondering where the sun-kissed shores of Pât might be…did the trick. Many thanks Rolytoly and Hurley. 13 1/2

  12. 5.43

    Interesting how ABIDING caused issues at the end. Same for me

    DIE HARD was neat.

    Thanks RT and Hurley

  13. I thought this was tricky, made moreso by the unhelpful grid. Nevertheless, I ground my way through it, speeding up as crossers emerged. Some very good clues and some excellent anagrams. I share some of the queries above but did not find any of them difficult to accept, in context. MINERAL was fine for me but ABIDING was a tough one to see, despite getting the A___ING quickly.
    UNCULTIVATED came late and I finished back up in the NE with PARKA, TRIFLE & TENOR (d’oh and double d’oh), and my LOI INCENSE. I was relieved to escape the threatening clutches of the SCC by a minute or so.
    Thanks to Hurley and to Roly for his comments and confirmation of my parsing. John M.

  14. Nothing too troublesome but still managed to notch up 22 minutes on the clock for a pleasant morning stroll to the club for a coffee, a mango yogurt and a leftover last night papadom. A far cry from a full English.
    Thanks Roly and Hurley

  15. I’ve decided to think more positively, and will adopt the phrase I’ve seen others use occasionally. So instead of saying I was slow today, I’m now professing to have been on a different wavelength.
    I got there in the end, but got totally bogged down, er, I mean off-wavelength with I’D HEARD DIFFERENTLY, fixating on I’D HEARD as a homophone cue, rather than DIFFERENTLY as a (glaringly obvious) anagram cue. I will continue twiddling the tuning knob in my brain…
    Club membership renewed for another day.

    1. You’re learning the key terms – different wavelength is one of my favourites!

  16. Nothing too tricky, although I wasted some time trying to get EXPAT to work for 22A. Seeing all the long ones quickly got me to the finishing line sooner than usual. RECAP/PACER and CAMERA have both come up recently, I think. COD to VICE-PRESIDENT for the surface. Thanks Hurley and Roly. 3:47.

  17. Very enjoyable and nothing too difficult, but no quicker than average for some reason. I thought all the clues were fair; I cannot conceive a definition of vegetable which would exclude a CORNCOB, my laugh of ths day. FOI ARMED, LOI EXILE, COD DIEHARD. Thanks, Hurley and Rolytoly.

  18. I managed in about 5 minute so easily a pb. Thanks Hurley and Rolytoly. I agree that corn cob was obvious enough but I disagree with those who defend it by saying that it’s in the dictionary. The fact is that in the UK it is always corn on the cob. Dictionaries may be ‘correct’ but in terms of everyday usage they are not always ‘right’ in my opinion!

  19. Another quick one at 8 minutes. The SE caused the problems – starting by thinking it was broadcasters as opposed to -ing which caused problems with the ABIDING/OPINION crossers. Like our blogger, it felt like several clues had been aired recently which sped things along.

  20. 7:28

    No eyebrow twitches today – just glossed over CORN COB (used to be CORN-on-the-COB – just figured that over time the clumsy ‘on-the’ had been removed to move it to a higher echelon of cooking ingredients – with a consequent higher charge)

    Thanks Hurley and RT

  21. Slow to get going, with the long edge words proving a bar to a quick start. But by dotting all round the grid and picking off the less demanding ones I got a foothold and eventually came home in just under 12 minutes, all parsed and eyebrow muscles almost unmoved. Though they were starting to twitch at Mineral and Corn cob, both a wee bit loose IMO, as discussed by others above.

    Many thanks Roly for the blog

  22. A couple of meaty anagrams and a struggle to get CORN COB & CHERRY held me up.

  23. 12 mins…

    For once I found this straightforward, with quite a few clues written directly in.

    I would still use “Corn on the Cob” for 13dn (did it ever change?) but it still works. Went through a few versions of “Expat”, “Exist” for 22ac before I finally settled on “Exile”.

    FOI – 1ac “Uncultivated”
    LOI – 19ac “Abiding”
    COD – 19ac “Abiding”

    Thanks as usual!

  24. Inside target for the first time this week, at 13 minutes. No problems with any of the clues or answers, makes for a happy camper. Thanks Hurley and Roly.

  25. I read the tortuous discussions on “resistant to change”. A client of mine many years ago agreed that he was nit picking a little. However, he phrased it in a question -“Am I trying to count how many angels can fit on the head of a pin” !

  26. 8:33 (death of Conchobar mac Donnchada, High King of Ireland)

    A pleasant and fast solve. A slight hesitation on CORNCOB (I’m in the “corn-on-the-cob” camp) but the question mark covers a multitude of MERs. CORNCOB is definitely not an animal or a mineral.


  27. Found this much gentler than QCs of late. Enjoyed the discussions around MINERAL and CORN COB – thanks guys. Informative and interesting as ever. I’m still at that stage where, if anything seems a little off, I generally assume it’s me. Give me another couple of years though…😉
    FOI UNCULTIVATED, LOI ABIDING. Liked the surfaces for CALM and EXILE.
    Many thanks to Hurley and Rolytoly.

  28. Brisk until I got to CORN COB and ABIDING. I’m definitely in the corn on the cob camp having never used the term corn cob. My LOI ABIDING needed an alphabet trawl to identify the three letter word for attempt. I must have skipped over the B on the first trawl. 7:16 but still a very good day.

  29. A nice quick finish spoiled by spelling INCENSE with two Cs and I can’t even forgive myself as the letters were all in the clue.
    But otherwise an enjoyable QC at the right level thanks Hurley
    Thanks Roly for explaining NO from ‘not backing away’ as I’d assumed it meant just saying no.
    Hasn’t come across MINE from ‘this setter’s but that’s another to tuck away.

  30. No problems with this one. UNCULTIVATED was FOI and CHERRY was LOI. 5:18. Thanks Hurley and Roly.

  31. Same as Merlin (except he was much faster than me) in that I answered 19a with AFIXING. I did think abiding but abide didn’t seem to me to mean permanent. However, on checking the dictionary definition it did indicate that abide can mean to remain. I should have checked that before putting in AFIXING, which I think is actually spelled (or is it spelt) with two Fs – AFFIXING.

    Getting 3d, 1a and 23a early on certainly helped me to do well in this QC.

  32. No significant problems with this one, coming home in 14 minutes all parsed. Thought of MINERAL immediately at 11ac but hesitated as to whether this could be correct so solved 8dn to confirm the initial letter. CORN COB was obvious from the checkers I had although I don’t recall ever having seen it as a phrase. Corn-on-the-cob in my book or even just sweet corn (whether on the cob or not). However a nice xword from Hurley which I enjoyed.

    FOI – 9ac ARMED
    LOI – 19ac ABIDING
    COD – 3dn UNDERPREPARED for the surface

    Thanks to Hurley and Rolytoly

  33. No problems with this offering from Hurley and I finished in 7.36 which for me is on the speedy side. My only hold up, as others found, was at the end with ABIDING and finally GREW where as usual I failed to see the hidden.

  34. Pretty fast then stuck on ABIDING. PDM with PARKA as had been trying to fit in CR. Also hesitated, because I was thinking of UK MPs, on PRESIDENT.
    Otherwise zoomed right through not worrying about CORN COB or MINERAL or CHERRY.
    Liked BROADCASTING,DIE HARD, EXILE, among others.
    Thanks vm, Roly.

  35. As far as I’m concerned, a CORNCOB is a tobacco pipe.

    I got the first five across answers straight off, and promptly failed on all of the next five. Then the last two acrosses were followed by a full set of down solutions, and finally the missing five in sequence, accompanied by head scratching as to what had held me up in the first place!

    TIME 3:44

  36. 12:38 which is my fastest time ever I think, although I don’t keep score. Biffed NOMINEE but all the rest just flowed.

  37. After last week’s discussion, I stayed CALM and enjoyed the clueing of BROADCASTING. I too was held up by misspelling INCENSE so the VICE-PRESIDENT was a long time coming.

    I enjoyed the reference to animal, vegetable or MINERAL with fond memories of family games of 20 questions as a youngster on holiday.

    Got AFIXING wrong, but you cannot win ‘em all.

    Enjoyed the discussion above.

    Thanks Hurly and Rolytoly

    1. Alas, you could have done had you spelled AFFIXING correctly, then realised that it wouldn’t fit. Every day is a school day in Crosswordland.

  38. 14 mins so this one must have been on the easier side as that’s close to a PB.

    COD to VICE PRESIDENT which I thought was very well clued.

    No complaints about Corncob as I have posted above. It is in such common usage now that it must be acceptable in a QC.

    Thanks rolytoly and Hurley

  39. Crossed the line a second or two before being gobbled up by the SCC – 19 minutes for me. UNCULTIVATED, CALM and CORN COB all went in within the first minute which, together, gave me 12 starting letters. For a while thereafter I harboured thoughts of a PB, but I slowed towards the end. Having to unpick and correct both EXpat and BROADCASTers were the prime culprits.

    Many thanks to Hurley and RolyToly

  40. Fine with corncob as assumed an American setter particularly when VP was an answer. Whence Hurley?
    DNF. All done in 20 save for Abiding. Always reminds me of the Cup Final. So maybe Hurley is a Brit after all. J

  41. All done in 9:30. Glad my anagram hat was within reach today, because getting 1a gave me a good springboard for the rest.
    Thanks to rolytoly and Hurley.

  42. 16:26 today with a fairly steady solve. I’m another who took a few moments to find BID and TRIFLE also took longer than it should. FOI UNCULTIVATED, LOI GREW, COD VICE PRESIDENT. I’m sure it won’t be long till I’m greeting my SCC pals again. 😉 Thanks Hurley and rolytoly

  43. Actually completed this in one sitting! Nowhere near those times of you more seasoned puzzlers, but I’m happy with that. (Don’t do these every day.) Thanks, Hurley. I personally don’t have a problem with the corny vegetable clue….

  44. 9.46 This felt quite slow but with no big hold ups it was a reasonable time. I often struggle with double definitions but we’ve had TRIFLE and SECOND before, possibly more than once. PARKA is another word I struggled to bring to mind the first time we had it but this at least its third outing. MINERAL seemed fine, though I’ve only heard it used in this sense by Irish people. CHERRY and CORN COB were the last two in. Thanks to rolytoly and Hurley.

  45. 7:34. Quite straightforward, and, as Roly says, a few words we’ve seen recently came easily to mind.
    Definitely corn on the cob unless it’s in a tin or a bag, then it’s sweetcorn 🌽
    Do they they speak Patois on the Ile de Pât I wonder 😅
    FOI Uncultivated LOI Abiding COD Calorie
    Thanks Hurley and Roly

    1. Aah, of course, now you say it it’s so obvious, that’s where Patois is from!

  46. Done quickly but got stuck on LOI abiding, so I did something else and came back to it. c13 mins.

    COD trifle/grew.

  47. If a newish and very slow paper puzzler may chip in about MINERAL I’m old enough to remember when tea shops and cafes would list all cold drinks under the heading ‘Minerals’ on menus. Very much appreciate the blog – really helpful. Thank you bloggers, Hurley and rolytoly.

    1. Newish, oldish, slow or fast – you’re very welcome 😊 I’m sure I remember seeing minerals for soft drinks at some point. It wasn’t a struggle to bring the word to mind!

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