Quick Cryptic 420 by Hurley

Posted on Categories Quick Cryptic
16 minutes for this one. I had some problems getting started and must have read more than half-a-dozen clues before an answer jumped out at me. I can’t recall now which was my first one in, but it was somewhere in the lower half of the grid and I had to work my way backwards and upwards from there, which is seldom the best approach.

Definitions are underlined, deletions are in curly brackets and indictaors, where given, are in square ones


1 Devon, Cornwall, perhaps, long for change? (6)
SWITCH – SW (Devon, Cornwall, perhaps), ITCH (long). SW stands for South West (England) here.
4 Advice about vessel for Swede perhaps (6)
TURNIP – TIP (advice) encloses [about] URN (vessel). My understanding has always been (and remains so) that parsnips and turnips are quite distinct root vegetables but apparently in some circles e.g. in the US, what I call a swede is known as a Swedish turnip and I believe what the Scots eat traditionally with haggis on Burns Night for example, they call ‘neeps’ – presumably short for ‘parsnips‘ ‘turnips’ – though it’s actually swede. All this probably makes the clue fair enough but it has the potential for starting an argument that could go on all day and still not be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
8 Order pies for a stage ceremony (4,2, 7)
10 Seafood fellow found in western lake close to rock (5)
WHELK – W (western), HE (fellow), L (lake), [close to] {roc}K
11 Toilet, unfashionable, king enters – a worry (7)
LOOKOUT – LOO (toilet), K (king), OUT (unfashionable). The definition relies on solvers knowing the usage at play in the expression ‘it’s not my lookout’.
12 Bill, unusually lenient at second game (5,6)
TABLE TENNIS – TAB (bill), anagram [unusually) of LENIENT, S (second)
16 Late bowling sequence, contest not completed (7)
OVERDUE – OVER (bowling sequence), DUE{l} (contest) [not completed]
17 Tea at both ends of room – attractive feature (5)
CHARM – CHA (tea), R{oo}M [both ends]
18 In favour of attacks (running) and distribution of gains (6-7)
PROFIT SHARING – PRO (in favour of), FITS (attacks), HARING (running)
19 Part of opera: The Ring? Quite (6)
RATHER – Hidden [part of] in {ope}RA THE R{ing}
20 Eager to get good deer back at end of January (6)
GREEDY – G (good), DEER reversed [back], [end of] {januar}Y

1 Hard-nosed quiet wife invested in claret? (6)
SHREWD – SH (quiet), W (wife) enclosed by [invested in] RED (claret)
2 Unconventional Bohemian taste – sharing problems (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT – Anagram [unconventional] of BOHEMIAN TASTE
3 Cold bird, swindler? (5)
CROOK – C (cold), ROOK (bird)
5 A French performance, unfinished, Royal Navy cut? No! (7)
UNSHORN – UN (A, French), SHO{w} (performance) [unfinished], RN (Royal Navy). The definition is an antonym of ‘cut’ as indicated by ‘No!’
6 Northeast answer courteous no end – a pleasing Italian dessert (10,3)
NEAPOLITAN ICE – NE (Northeast), A (answer), POLIT{e} (courteous) [no end], A, NICE (pleasing)
7 Balance put in Post Office immediately (6)
PRESTO – REST (balance) [put in] PO (post office). I lost time thinking ‘pronto’ here.
9 Friend metres off in the evergreens (4,5)
PALM TREES – PAL (friend), anagram [off] of METRES
13 This person initially labourer, ultra determined, destroyed industrial textile equipment (7)
LUDDITE – First letters [initially] of {L}abourer {U}ltra {D}etermined, {D}estroyed {I}ndustrial {T}extile {E}quipment. Rather a good &lit.
14 Policeman – one managing to absorb pressure (6)
COPPER – COPER (one managing) encloses [absorb] P (pressure)
16 Polluted motorway in wet surroundings (6)
SMOGGY – M (motorway) enclosed by [in] SOGGY (wet) [surroundings]
17 Preside over Church broadcast (5)
CHAIR – CH (church), AIR (broadcast) – as one might chair a meeting

9 comments on “Quick Cryptic 420 by Hurley”

  1. I’ve already forgotten what went in when, but it was fairly smooth going, although SWITCH and IN THE SAME BOAT took some time. I also spent time thinking of MI for ‘motorway’. 13d is quite impressive. 5:20.
  2. Jack – ‘neeps’ is, I believe, derived from ‘turnips’ rather than ‘parsnips’. They are aka rutabagas in the US (from the swedish rotabagga), hence the english name ‘swede’ to distinguish them from the smaller white ‘turnip’. Whatever… Faster than average time for me. I enjoyed the &lit 13d too.
    1. Indeed, and thanks for pointing out my error. I knew it was turnips but failed to engage brain!

      Edited at 2015-10-19 05:18 pm (UTC)

  3. I found this really difficult. I spent an age trying to parse pine trees, which made 11a a bit tricky. For 17a I spent a while trying to find a word that started and ended in ‘t’. Anyway I eventually got to a place where I thought I’d solved it with only 18a unparsed. Unfortunately I put ‘unshown’ in for 5d (as in a cut scene from a film is not shown). I’m not overly disappointed though as I thought I was going to end up with several unsolved clues.
    Particularly enjoyed 1a and 6d.
  4. As an Irishman, what the English call swedes we have always called turnips. It does remind me of the Sun’s world class headline after a particularly inept England soccer performance against Sweden “Swedes 1 Turnips 0!
  5. I found this heavy going for some reason, not helped by flipping the answers for 17ac and 17d and then puzzling over 15 and 20. Invariant
  6. Three sessions and I finished, which is good for me. Does anyone else think that hard-nosed and shrewd are quite a long way apart as synonyms. Shrewd is to do with application of intelligence; hard nosed is about resilience to resistance… Not my CoD, which was 12a.
    1. I did wonder about ‘shrewd/hard-nosed’ but Collins has the latter defined as ‘tough, shrewd, practical’ so any misgivings need to be directed at the lexicographers rather than the setter.
  7. Enjoyed this quite tough challenge on a train to Crewe today. Like others I struggled to get going but all was clear in hindsight. Was happy to see the hidden answer early for once (19a) and who can resist a mixture of table tennis, profit sharing and rites of passage,with ice cream. David

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