Times Quick Cryptic No 2527 by Hurley

Solving time: 5:37

I always find pleasure in solving Hurley’s grids and am perhaps, finding their wavelength now, having improved my overall average against them in five of their last six offerings. Some of the clues were a delight to work through – I particularly enjoyed 1a, 10a and 22a the last of which required a painstaking build of a word I knew but never knew the meaning of.

What puzzled me most was 14d – the answer seemed fairly obvious, but it’s now clear that I had completely overthought the wordplay – I wonder whether others will be momentarily baffled in the same way. Fortunately the random factor in the answer was confirmed by the checker in 13a.

How was it for you?

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

1 One with much to say about milliner maybe at fight (10)
CHATTERBOXC (about i.e. short for circa) HATTER (milliner maybe) BOX (fight)

BOX and ‘fight’ might be synonymous when a boxing referee at the start of each round, raises their arm and calls, “Box!”

8 Gas from Australia, unique (5)
OZONEOZ (Australia) ONE (unique)

OZONE is a pale blue gas with a distinctively pungent smell, reminiscent of chlorine.

9 Out of order, snap about family serviettes (7)
NAPKINS – Anagram (Out of order) of SNAP about KIN (family)

Nancy Mitford would approve of the answer but not the definition…

10 School having professorship and place for infant (4,5)
HIGH CHAIRHIGH (School) CHAIR (professorship)

Think ‘having’ is just a link word here.

CHAIR comes from the Old French chaiere meaning “chair, seat, throne” which itself is from the Latin cathedra meaning “seat”. Cathedral comes from the same root. and is a short form of the Late Latin ecclesia cathedralis meaning “church of a bishop’s seat”.

The figurative sense of “seat of office or authority” for bishops and professors has been around since c. 1300. Notably, one of the Spanish words for Professor is catedrático…

12 Distant fliers recalled (3)
FARRAF (fliers i.e. Royal Air Force) reversed [recalled]
13 View internet location, by the sound of it (5)
SIGHT – Homophone [by the sound of it] of SITE (internet location i.e. synonymous with webSITE)
15 Absolute, say (5)
UTTER – Double definition
17 Pole on amazing roll initially (3)
OARO{n} A{mazing} R{oll} initially i.e. first letters of
18 Perform well, embracing tricky role, in seaside area perhaps (9)
SHORELINESHINE (Perform well) embracing i.e. surrounding, anagram [tricky] of ROLE
20 One supervising in street with energy — draw back (7)
STEWARDST (street) E (energy, as in the equation E=mc2) DRAW reversed [back]
21 Reliable, and thus top (5)
SOLIDSO (thus) LID (top)
22 Gym class referring to elected person, Conservative, as assertive (10)
PEREMPTORYPE (Gym class) RE (referring to) MP (elected person) TORY (Conservative)

Must admit I didn’t know what this word meant before now – defined online as ‘insisting on immediate attention or obedience, especially in a brusquely imperious way

1 Fool, he’s on drug — help to dry out here? (7,5)
CLOTHES HORSECLOT (Fool) HE’S HORSE (drug i.e. informal word for heroin)

A HORSE is a term for any frame or structure on which something is mounted or supported and dates from the early 18th century, so called because it has four legs as does a HORSE.

A deeper question might be why heroin is known as HORSE – some interesting theories online…

2 Included in scam, ongoing (5)
AMONG – Hidden [indicated by ‘in’] scAM ONGoing
3 Regularly stroke piggy (3)
TOE – Every other letter [Regularly] of sTrOkE
4 Where to land in style after cricket score (6)
RUNWAYWAY (style) after RUN (cricket score)
5 Timely pro, one put to work (9)
OPPORTUNE – Anagram [to work] of PRO ONE PUT
6 One not suitable if brought up in poor visibility (6)
MISFITIF reversed [brought up] in MIST (poor visibility)

‘brought up’ is apposite as this is a down clue

7 Easy to understand fury — red line’s shifted (4-8)
USER-FRIENDLY – Anagram [shifted] of FURY RED LINE’S
11 For example, Sparta, static, yet lively (4-5)
CITY-STATE – Anagram [lively] of STATIC YET
14 Getting new start, traffic official, in this growth area? (6)
GARDENWARDEN (traffic official) getting new start i.e. replace the first letter, on this occasion with a G – luckily the random nature of the 25 options is settled by 13a.

The answer was fairly obvious from the mildly cryptic definition but I still didn’t parse it for quite a while after completion.

16 Some find odd learner’s easy task (6)
DODDLE – Hidden [some] in finD ODD LEarner’s
19 Returning US soldier meeting ladies, say, in house (5)
IGLOOGI (US soldier) reversed [Returning] LOO (ladies, say)

The largest igloo ever constructed is in Zermatt, Switzerland. It has the biggest dome at 34 feet high with a ground-level inside diameter of 42 feet.

21 Concession for weak person (3)
SOP – Double definition with a linking word

59 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 2527 by Hurley”

  1. I biffed the long downs, never parsed them. PEREMPTORY took me some time; I persisted in taking Conservative to be C. 6:50.

  2. Would have gotten a PB if not for that pesky GARDEN. Does the ‘getting’ part of the clue indicate the ‘g’ at all – I think i was expecting the clue to tell me what letter to newly start with

    I positively zoomed through this in 13:22, a couple of minutes spent on GARDEN but I’ll be honest and say I barely checked the parsing on the long clues and I nho PEREMPTORY but I carefully constructed it with the checkers and the wordplay

    1. No, I think it simply means the traffic official (WARDEN) getting a new ‘start’ (first letter) hence replacing the W with a G to find a ‘growth area’ ie GARDEN.

  3. 10:15. Thanks for the parsing of GARDEN. SHORELINE was my COD. I felt I knew PEREMPTORY but didn’t quite see it being the same as”assertive”. I only knew CLOTHES HORSE as someone overly focussed on fashion and their duds but see of course it must have originally had the sense in the clue. I vaguely remembered the term milksop to help get SOP.

    1. Assertive is definitely not the same as peremptory. A great big MER here, if you can have a big one. Maybe it’s a major eyebrow rise…

  4. 11:44 (1144 Fall of the crusader city of Edessa to the Muslims ignites the Second Crusade)

    Not much to trouble, here. Turns out I don’t know what PEREMPTORY means, lawyers say it all the times in American TV shows, with their “peremptory challenge” (and a total misunderstanding of what Trial by Jury is fundamentally about)

    Was held up by STEWARD/SHORELINE/DODDLE before seeing the hidden DODDLE.

    Of the many, many slang turns of phrase for many different drugs, the setters tend to only know E=ecstasy and horse=heroin.


  5. Nice puzzle by Hurley, it took me 7.51 with LOI PEREMPTORY taking a little time to figure out. USER-FRIENDLY also took a while to unravel and the definition of SHORELINE was not immediately apparent. I think I recall grass and pot making the occasional appearance along with horse and e. Thanks to Mike for the helpful blog.

  6. DNF for me having nho horse as a drug and of a clothes-horse anyway. The rest took me close to 20m as too many long words anagrams which tend to slow me down. My cod’s shoreline and igloo.

  7. 11:17. Longer than I thought as I didn’t have many to delay me apart from CHATTERBOX and the unusual sense of PEREMPTORY as Mike and others have commented on.

    Yes, such prejudices are hard to shake and ‘serviettes’ rather than the U NAPKINS, still grates with me too.

    Thanks to Mike and Hurley

    1. Read Brian Johnson’s Someone Who Was when it was published 30 (?) years ago and have enjoyed calling serviettes ‘paper napkins’ ever since.

  8. There was little here that needed a second thought. 7 minutes.

    When boxers box they fight, so that went straight in. CLOTHES HORSE as ‘drier’ came up in a puzzle elsewhere only yesterday.

  9. Held up by MISFITS and SHORELINE on the way to a fast for me ten minute solve. Took a while to get away from things like ‘dim’ to get to ‘mist’ and ended up spotting SHORELINE before parsing, I was a little way from ‘shine’ for perform well. Missed CHATTERBOX on the first pass but lots of others went in to leave me with plenty of checkers when it came to the downs. A third day all green.

  10. 1/3 – so my first win of the week (notwithstanding a pesky typo with OZONE). A very nicely balanced QC in my opinion with PEREMPTORY, OPPORTUNE and CITY STATE being my favourites. I crept in under 20 minutes, which will probably not result in me moving chairs after assembly but will allow me to face Sir with some new-found confidence.
    Thank you Hurley and Mike.

  11. Started with CHATTERBOX and finished with a carefully constructed PEREMPTORY with no real delays in between, although HIGH CHAIR put up the most resistance.
    Finished in 6.23
    Thanks to Mike

  12. Quick and straightforward today. I hesitated over the HORSE because I took the drug just to be H and was trying to understand why ORSE meant “helps”. Sometimes your nose can get too close to the clue!

    Otherwise I was delayed only by SOP (where I toyed with SAP) and LOI STEWARD, coming home in 06:19 for a sub-K and thus a Red Letter Day.

    Many thanks Hurley and Mike.


  13. 6.24 DNF

    Stuck in SAP thinking “is that quite right” and forgot to return. D’oh.

    GARDEN was ok but SHORELINE needed some squinting.

    Thanks all

  14. Enjoyable, though I plodded to the finish in 21:28. Accessible GK and no random names – what’s not to like?

    As my times are routinely above 20:23, I can’t really use date references, so I googled 2128, and apparently “if you see 2128, your angels are signaling to you that you need to take some time to invest in personal growth and development. By prioritizing both of these, you can better navigate the path to success, manifest your dreams and bring about positive changes in your life”. Hmm. Sounds like UTTER CHATTERBOlloX to me.

  15. 3:42. No marks on my copy except for the answers in the grid and my time, so no sticking points today. I’m another who knew the word PEREMPTORY but wasn’t sure what it meant thinking ‘dismissive’ rather than ‘assertive’. Whatevs. I learn something every day in crosswordland. Thanks Hurley and Mike.

  16. Enjoyable puzzle. At the end, I tried to make IGLOO more difficult than it was by thinking of returning US soldier as Vet. Everything else was quickly biffed or solved.
    Early solves were CHATTERBOX and CLOTHES HORSE which helped. USER-FRIENDLY and PEREMPTORY (COD) also sprang to mind.
    Thanks vm, Mike. And indeed thanks to Hurley for a user-friendly QC.

  17. Romped through this in 8 minutes, though Clothes Horse was put in from checkers and only parsed post completion. Very nice puzzle, much enjoyed; will now go down internet rabbitholes to see why heroin = horse..

    Many thanks Mike for the blog

  18. 07:17
    Pig ref but no oink. LOI shoreline bifd and parsed later.
    COD garden or clothes line.

  19. Chatterbox and Clothes Horse (the only way of drying clothes in wet weather when I was a boy) went in almost straight away, and all those initial letters helped produce a 16min solve. Might even have been a touch quicker, had I not misread Ref for Red in 7d and then wondered why the answer wasn’t that User FrienDly. . . A very informative blog from Mike, and you can put me down as another who never really knew the correct meaning of Peremptory. CoD to Shoreline, though Igloo ran it close. Invariant

  20. 9:48 (Kind Eadred responds to revolt in Northumbria by burning Ripon Minster)

    An enjoyable challenge. LOI was SHORELINE. I’m not sure I would have been able to spell PEREMPTORY if it had not been so generously clued.

    Thanks Hurley and Mike

  21. Worked through this pretty smartly to finish in 7.36. Like others PEREMPTORY was a word known to me, but if asked to explain its meaning I couldn’t. At least I can now!
    I always find Hurley’s puzzles to be well constructed with thoughtful clues, and this was no exception.

  22. A nice steady solve in 37m. With an X and a Z in the first two across clues I thought we were in for another pangram but Q failed to make an appearance.
    NHO HORSE for heroin but it was the only answer.
    Fortunately replaced SOP with SAP after some thought.
    Thanks Hurley and Mike for an enjoyable puzzle and blog.

  23. 11′. For some reason decided to start on the down clues and immediately assumed there was some anagram fodder to be worked out having found “house” for the second word. Lost a minute or so disabusing myself of that track before it fell into place, albeit I did wonder where to place “IP” in Internet location before the “doh” moment. In the end not too much quicker than the 15×15 which is a very nice puzzle today. thanks Hurley and Mike

  24. Easier by some way than the last couple of puzzles. I was all finished and parsed in 12 minutes – a good time for me. I knew what PEREMPTORY means but not at all sure I could have spelt it correctly if it hadn’t been quite generously clued.

    LOI – 18ac SHORELINE
    COD – 14dn GARDEN

    Thanks to Hurley and Mike

  25. Not entirely focussed on the QC but managed to polish it off in 7:56. Obviously I don’t know how to spell PEREMPTORY as I confidently but in PreEMPTORY but that didn’t fit with gym in the wordplay or the anagram fodder for my LOI CITY-STATE.

  26. 11:21 for a satisfying solve and no real hold-ups. CHATTERBOX and CLOTHES straight in, but had to wait for a couple of checkers before HORSE made an appearance. Thanks Hurley and Mike.

  27. 8.03 WOE. I thought I would be very quick but DODDLE and STEWARD held me up for a couple of minutes at the end. But it didn’t matter because I typed OPPURTUNE while thinking “I’m always misspelling this!” Thanks Mike and Hurley.

  28. 12 mins…

    Apart from a bit of Ikea style construction for 22ac “Premptory” and a debate whether 21dn was “Sop” or “Sap”, I didn’t find his too bad. Again, it helps if you can get the long answers finally quickly, and both 1dn “Clothes Horse” and 7dn “User Friendly” were pretty much biffed immediately.

    FOI – 1ac “Chatterbox”
    LOI – 21dn “Sop”
    COD – 19dn “Igloo”

    Thanks as usual!

    1. Dreaded IKEA construction instructions! It looks like you’ve omitted one of the components whilst constructing PEREMPTORY.

  29. Help! Two successive days outside of the comfortable surroundings of the SCC – a feat I have achieved only twice before – and I feel a little agoraphobic. Time = 16 minutes, and it could have been faster had I not stumbled at the end in the SE corner. That should set Mrs R a proper challenge, for once.

    CHATTERBOX was my FOI and I got three of its descendants on first pass, all of which provided a reasonable framework to build from. I somehow remembered HORSE for drug and UTTER for absolute, but OPPORTUNE took some unpicking. I was trying to make an anagram from ‘Timely pro’ for a while before realising my error. My LOsI were SOLID, SOP, DODDLE and PEREMPTORY, which I thought meant dismissive and not assertive.

    Many thanks to Hurley and Mike H.

  30. CHATTERBOX went straight in. Took a while to see SHORELINE even with the checkers in. LOI, PEREMPTORY had to be carefully constructed. I knew roughly what it meant, but would’ve spelt it with an extra R after the first P, left to my own devices. 7:00 on the nose! Thanks Hurley and Mike.

  31. 11:56 for me today, one of my fastest solves for a while. Everything seemed to flow in easily, except for my LOI SOP where it just seemed the only option but I wasn’t convinced because of not knowing all the meanings.

    Thanks to Hurley and Mike.

  32. Zipped through this one until LOI CLOTHES HORSE which I had biffed early but just couldn’t parse. DNK horse = drug – thanks Mike. Liked SOLID/IGLOO. Thanks Hurley.

  33. Never knew that about HORSE. Why would I? But I was brought up with SERVIETTEs.

    Wanted to put PROMENADE for performing well in the seaside area but couldn’t work out where the tricky role would come in.

    Quite a tricky puzzle but lots made me smile once I had worked them out.

    Thanks Mike and Hurley.

  34. Straightforward I thought.

    SHORELINE LOI, which held me up a bit, and I nearly mombled SHORESIDE, but paid attention to the clue at the last minute.


  35. 16:00, which appears to put me on the slow side today. CHAT went in quickly, but I blanked on the rest of the clue until I realised that “milliner” gave “hatter”, not “hat”. LOI PEREMPTORY, where I was trying to include CON for too long. MER at “pole” for OAR: I think of a pole as being cylindrical, like a flagpole, whereas an oar has a blade at one end. But I bunged it in anyway.

    Thanks to Mike and Hurley.

  36. A steady solve of around 15 minutes with SHORELINE my LOI. I had not heard of Horse for heroin, though most of my knowledge of names for illegal drugs comes from the QC. When I was young it was the art students who smoked strange substances (reefers) while us engineering students drank beer.

  37. Three finished in a row, has to end soon .
    Biffed clothes horse probably because I have one but don’t get the explanation.
    I also have a wooden horse for sawing logs on although it’s usually called a donkey.
    FOI was chatterbox, last was peremptory.

  38. 17 mins in steady fashion today. GARDEN took a while to grow on me, the lower half generally rather slower than the upper.

  39. 13:12
    Comfortably under my 20min target time with this nice offering from Hurley.
    As with JamesEd46, did an Ikea like construction of PEREMPTORY, as with Mike, puzzled over the fairly obvious GARDEN and as others, never new HORSE was slang for heroine – pleased I wasn’t alone in all three cases.
    FOI: 3dn TOE
    LOI: 14dn GARDEN
    COD: 10ac HIGH CHAIR
    Thanks to Mike and Hurley.

  40. Was happy with my time (17 mins) and feeling pleased with myself until I came here and saw how easy everyone found it. After reading other posts, I don’t feel that I’ve achieved anything special and, if anything, appear to have performed rather poorly.

    56 mins for 3 days (22/17/17) is an improvement on recent efforts, but can’t help thinking that Monday and today could/should have been better. Still nowhere near a great time.

    I don’t think I’ll make my target of 5 finishes in 2 hours, as I’m still not capable of handling a hard QC at the moment. We’re bound to get one in the next 2 days and my confidence is shot to pieces after the last few weeks.

    A very informative blog. Now I know why the Pope speaks ex cathedra.

    1. Dear Mr A,
      Our top sports people would never overcome the world’s best without a hefty slug of positive thinking, yet some do. You need to complete the next two QCs in 64 minutes (average = 32) and you have completed the last three in 56 minutes (average = 19). Confront the challenge with a confident mindset and you’re more likely to succeed.
      Alternatively, you could cheat.

  41. Well done for a puzzle that was straightforward, no words last used at king Alfred’s coronation or random girl’s names. Not a pushover for us newbies but doable with a bit of thought.

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