Times Quick Cryptic No 764 by Hurley Friday, 10 February 2017

Times Quick Cryptic No 764 by Hurley

Friday, 10 February 2017

Good learning puzzle this, with lots of basic cluecraft involved. Possibly too many anagrams, which, once you spot them, are easily solvable. Last blog it was ANITA, this time it’s ROSE, DANIELLE and ESTHER, is this a code?


1.Remove tax (6)

EXCISE – as in Customs & Excise, double meaning

4. Mob I’ve trained for film (1-5)

B-MOVIE – an anagram (trained) of ‘Mob I’ve’. I do remember the days of such, where you could watch two different films, the volume was at a tolerable level and when cinemagoers generally behaved themselves. Oh, and of course the cloud of cigarette smoke drifting in the projector light.

9. Confidential chatter around Vi’s about-turn (7)


10. Sense of place we hear (5)

SIGHT – the sense is SIGHT, a homophone (sounds the same) of ‘site’.

11. Flower increased in value (4)

ROSE – not a river, but a nice thing to have in the garden, double meaning.

12. Nigel avoiding girl initially in valley — this girl? (8)

DANIELLE – NIEL (Nigel without the g, avoiding girl initially) in DALE

14. Stain in bath upset residents (11)

INHABITANTS – an anagram (upset) of ‘Stain in bath’.

18. Welcome letter featuring this dish (8)

OMELETTE – hidden word.

20. Target papal document (4)

BULL – the centre of e.g. a dartboard, and a pronouncement by the Pope, double meaning.

22. Dazzle, regal, recollected (5)

GLARE – the noun, meaning dazzle. An anagram (recollected) of ‘regal’.

23. Not a member of dismissed team (7)

OUTSIDE – definition is ‘Not a member of’, OUT = ‘dismissed’ (cricket) + SIDE = team.

24.Again gave account about time from past (6)

RETOLD – RE (about) + T (time) + OLD (from past). To give account is to tell.

25. Lack of interest in a way, desultory in the end (6)

APATHY- A PATH Y, a path is a way, + desultory in the end, last letter Y


1.Powerful organisation extremely effusive about politician, Irish (6)

EMPIRE – extremely effusive, i.e. the extremes EE about MP IR

2. Endless lawlessness: boy looking embarrassed? (7)

CRIMSON – you may go this when embarrassed, CRIM (endless lawlessness) + SON (boy).

3. Raised listening devices in quarrel (4)

SPAT – meaning a quarrel, TAPS (listening devices) raised (this is a Down clue).

5. Gosh, it’s heading north over California! Awe-inspiring! (8)

MYSTICAL – definition is ‘awe-inspiring’. MY (Gosh, exclamation) + STI (it’s heading north, reversed) + CAL (California).

6. First of all verify if guard is leading watch (5)

VIGIL – watch, the noun, first letters (first of all) of ‘verify if guard is leading’.

7. Woman, blest, heroine to some extent (6)

ESTHER – bl{EST HER}oine, the famous Jewish heroine as in the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament.

8. Rationale, it’s shaky — fighting back? (11)

RETALIATION – an anagram (shaky) of ‘Rationale it’s’.

13. Break down wall — free! Goodbye! (8)

FAREWELL – an anagram (Break down) of ‘wall – free’.

15. Ticket seller takes in upcoming teacher, one on holiday? (7)

TOURIST – definition is ‘one on holiday’, RIS (upcoming SIR) in TOUT.

16. Large feline company disturbed a rug (6)

COUGAR – mountain lion, puma, CO (company) + UGAR (anagram, ’disturbed’, of A RUG). The word has a contemporary meaning too.

17. Wanting to drop off agent, welcoming shelter (6)

SLEEPY – to ‘drop off’ is to fall asleep, SPY (agent) including (welcoming) LEE (shelter).

19. Give statutory effect to, at heart, penal court (5)

ENACT – ENA (middle letters, at heart, of ‘penal) + CT (short for ‘court’)

21. Sceptical originally, regularly attempt short distance (4)

STEP – definition is ‘short distance’. S (Sceptical first letter, originally) + TEP (regularly attempt. i.e. aTtEmPt)

20 comments on “Times Quick Cryptic No 764 by Hurley Friday, 10 February 2017”

  1. Yes, a good puzzle; the answers went in methodically; even the long anagrams were do-in-head-able, which is nice. Had a mental block with 12ac though, convinced for a while that it had to start NAG-
  2. A very pleasant finish to the week. 9 minutes with time lost at the end running through the alphabet to come up with 3dn as my LOI. Thanks for all your hard work on the Friday blogs, Rob, I hope you will still drop by and comment when time permits.
  3. After spending 7 or 8 minutes and getting maybe 3 clues, I decided the hell with it and went to the Concise and then the regular 15×15. Where I saw the same clues. Went back to the Times and realized that I’d clicked on the wrong puzzle; I think they’ve moved it. Anyway, this was rather more doable, although I foolishly biffed ‘excess’ (cess=tax), meaning, as always to go back to it, which I did when I was forced to by the ‘Unlucky!’ sign. Biffed OMELETTE without spotting the hidden, not spotting hiddens being one of my habits. 4:52. On edit: I see from Jack’s posting that Rob won’t be blogging; a pity. Let me add my thanks and hopes to Jack’s.

    Edited at 2017-02-10 02:12 am (UTC)

  4. For a second I thought the QC was a cut-down of the 15×15! Someone moved my cheese!

    I didn’t enjoy this much at all like Vinyl I couldn’t get a grip on this one. 11.15. Bad!

    COD 20ac BULL

    WOD 13dn FAREWELL – Rob! Good luck, Sir!

  5. I made a right hash of 8dn, thinking I’d seen the anagram and put in retaliating. That of course left me with 23ac starting with an “n”. I was convinced it had to be NOT___, before I finally realised my mistake at 8dn. I thought 17dn was a bit tricky, with good misdirection with “drop off” – drop off “a” (agent)? Gribb.
  6. It all went in slowly but surely until I reached the SE corner where I hit a brick wall for a while with 25a and 17d. A mental block that agent would be something to do with espionage and a certainty that way would equate to Rd. 28mins in the end.
  7. I found this tougher than usual, coming in at 12:25. FOI SIGHT and LOI OMELETTE which took me ages to spot. Thanks for the blogs, Rob, and 13d.
  8. I too was held up by Omelette and was looking for a dish of porcelain or similar. Amazing how many of our admittedly small sample missed this hidden. My LOI was Sleepy and I had to work to get Danielle. 19 minutes in total. David
  9. A disappointing 40 mins today, with 3d and the 17/25 combination responsible for 10 of those. I also nearly had Vanielle for the girl, before deciding that was a bit too obscure, even by today’s standards. Invariant
  10. Thanks for the blog, robrolfe, which explained everything as it was intended. Sorry to hear you’re leaving but I hope we’ll see your comments from time to time. Hurley
  11. I found this to be a steady solve but worked my way up from the bottom until I was left with a completely blank NW corner. Once I’d figured out 1d the rest went in smoothly. I managed to spot and solve the anagrams and hiddens quickly today which helped. LOI 3d, completed in 16 minutes.
    Sorry to hear you’ll no longer be doing the Friday blogs Rob – they were always thorough and informative.
  12. Another swimmingly good progress only to DNF over 12a. I too was first convinced that it should start with NAG then realised NIEL was correct but couldn’t get past vale for dale….so frustrating when Rob lays it out so succinctly. Will miss your blogs Rob – thanks for being so clear – a great help to me when I started off. FOI 1a LOI 5d COD 5d Surrendered after an hour.
  13. Just realised the setter has given us words which join on the four edges – my word that’s a terrible description! We have Four Cornered, Fighting Ships Doom Merchant and Paradise Lost. Is there a name for this utter brilliance?


    1. I think your comment refers to the Concise puzzle (which isn’t blogged) rather than the Quick Cryptic. All the daily Concise puzzles in the Times have some kind of a Nina or theme – there’s usually a discussion each day on the Crossword Club forum about this.
  14. Found this tough but enjoyable, and finished in about 40m.

    Last two were 1a and 1d.

    Struggled at first but the long anagrams 14a and 8d helped a lot.

    COD 18a really well hidden.

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