Quick Cryptic No 663 by Hurley

A smattering of General Knowledge needed for this one (12, 15, 19 and 20 across), but all fairly clued to make an 8 minute challenge for me, so slightly easier than usual on my scale.  Some fun to be had along the way as well.

Definitions are underlined, anagrams indicated by [square brackets] and deletions with {curly ones}

8  After time, walk with swaying gait? Nonsense (7)
TWADDLE – T{ime} with WADDLE
Values range of small cold beer (5)
SCALE – S{mall} C{old} plus ALE (beer)
10  Paul regularly timid?  Quite the opposite (5)
PUSHY – a semi &lit clue (the whole clue gives the definition), and constructed as follows – P{a}U{l} (regularly, i.e. alternate letters) with SHY (timid) to give something that is the opposite of timid
11  Extremely slick new title for pin used in game (7)
SKITTLE – (extremely, i.e. outside letters) S{lic}K with an anagram (clued by ‘new’) of [TITLE]
12  Poet Stephen one’s seen shopping? (7)
SPENDER – a SPENDER might be seen shopping, and Stephen SPENDER was Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE, an English poet, novelist and essayist
14  Astonish a parent with variable English (5)
AMAZE – A (a) MA (parent, i.e. mother or MA), Z (variable – the letter Z is often used to represent a variable in an equation) and E{nglish} – put them together and voila, you will AMAZE
15  French writer parking away from university grounds (5)
CAMUS – University grounds are a CAM{p}US.  Remove P{arking} and you get Albert CAMUS, the French philosopher, author and journalist and Nobel laureate (literature) much loved by crossword setters
17  John introduced to cuter refashioned hairstyle (4,3)
CREW CUT – a John in America is what we often call a WC in the UK.  Put WC inside (introduced) an anagram (clued by ‘refashioned’) of [CUTER] to make CREW CUT
19  Manage firm used by Royal Navy in Cheshire town (7)
RUNCORN – RUN (manage) CO (firm) and R{oyal} N{avy}
20  Fishwonderful (5)
BRILL – a double definition – BRILL is a type of fish and also can mean wonderful amongst the yoof of today (or was that yesterday?)
22  Feel great need for Conservative party? (5)
CRAVE – C{onservative} and RAVE (party)
23  Rugby Union’s followed by Welsh girl and foreign national (7)
RUSSIAN – R{ugby} U{nion}’S followed by SIAN – one of those girl’s names that I struggle to pronounce.  It is equivalent to the English Jane, the Scottish Sheena or the Irish Siobhan, the first two of which are much easier to pronounce


1.  Cease sports training over problems at outset (4)

STOP – I took a few minutes to parse this before I spotted that the answer is the first letters (at outset) of S{ports} T{raining} O{ver} P{roblems}
2  Story about silly girl (6)
LASSIE – the story is a LIE, with ASS in for silly.  I’m not sure that the adjective ‘silly’ and the noun ‘ass’ are exactly interchangeable, but ‘ass’ and ‘silly’ are so often associated with each other that I suppose it is OK?
Nervous journalist has good year after (4)
EDGY – Journalist is nearly always an ED{itor} in crosswordland, followed in this case by G{ood} Y{ear}
4  Uncle and retirees exercising here? (7,6)
LEISURE CENTRE – straightforward anagram indicated by ‘exercising’ of [UNCLE] and [RETIREES] with the whole clue providing the definition, i.e. a semi &lit
5  In Paris is one friend making approximate calculation (8)
ESTIMATE – EST (French, i.e. what one might say in Paris, for ‘is’) I (one) MATE (friend)
6  Chap painting over slogan (6)
MANTRA – the chap is a MAN and painting is ART with over clueing that the ART is reversed
7  Some defer – ever entirely respectful (8)
REVERENT – cleverly hidden answer in {defe}R EVER ENT{irely}
12  Contest to find out who’ll be first to be fired (4,4)
SACK RACE – an amusing whole clue definition
13  Find out Detective Inspector’s assumed identity (8)
DISCOVER – DIS from D{etective} I{nspector}’S and COVER is an assumed identity, especially in my favourite spy novels
16  Work many do – and when it might start? (6)
MONDAY – another whole clue definition containing an anagram (clued by ‘work), this time of [MANY DO]
18  Greek character with access code to provide money (4,2)
CHIP IN – The Greek character is CHI (the 22nd letter of the Greek alphabet) and PIN is the access code that we all forget
20  Contemptible centre of operations (4)
BASE – straightforward double definition
21  Join left in Korea’s capital (4)
LINK – L{eft} plus IN (in) plus K{orea’s} capital as in capital letter, rather than capital city

13 comments on “Quick Cryptic No 663 by Hurley”

  1. I was slowed down a bunch by 4d and LOI 17ac; 4d because I couldn’t see the anagram and finally had to write the letters down, and 17ac because all I could think of for john was ‘loo’; I finally just biffed it. DNK, or barely K, RUNCORN, but the wordplay was clear. Rotter, ‘silly’ can also be a noun (not in my idiolect, mind you, but). 7:58.
  2. Very pleased today, record 23:08 so well under my usual hour. And no cheating.

    I had 12a and 2d unsolved after 22 mins and thought it would take a while to get, but the penny dropped.

    I haven’t heard of 15a camus but the clue was helpful.

    thanks for the blog and crossword.

  3. Having lost a bit of confidence recently over my QC solving I was pleased to hit my target 10 minutes with this one, although I only just made it.

    CAMUS and SPENDER are pushing the boundaries of GK a bit for a Quickie, I think, although I was quite happy with them. I liked 17 for its rarity value; we get lots of “loo clues” but its not often we have WC as an element of the answer as there aren’t many words that require these as consecutive letters. 16 was neat too.

  4. 24:58, although I did try MANUAL as LOI for 16d, with all checkers in, for ‘work many do’. COD 17a, saw possibilities of —- CUT, but did not get WC=John til end. I think ‘John’ is US English and ‘WC’ British, so quite a tough clue in the end.

    I just bought L’etranger on Saturday, so Camus was on my mind.

  5. Answers positively flew in today, though slowed down finally in the top right-hand corner, where I first put DEFERENT for 7dn and then took a minute or two to spot the mystery word ending in -A at 6dn.

    Cheers Hurley & Rotter

    1. Snap! Exactly the same experience with the clues – and also so close (I took an extra 16 seconds) on the time.
  6. Finished in 19 so guessing this is at the easier end? Struggled with north west corner with my last three in being 8ac, 10ac and 2dn. Don’t know why, as they’re all very gettable. COD is 17ac. Not seen WC pop up before. Loved the John misdirection.
  7. Nothing too testing today and completed in 15 minutes. However I bifd 17a as I missed the loo reference. Hadn’ t heard of 12a but the cluing was kind.
  8. Albert Camus I am unreliably informed once played in goal for Algeria!

    8.10 for this average offering.

    Held up by 18dn CHIP IN as I was wrongly onto COIN IT.


    Usual informative blog from The Rotter

    horryd Shanghai

  9. Good mixture of clues today, excellent learning QC. PIN for code was in the 15×15 yesterday. Could we have a moratorium on Rugby Union? 6′, thanks rotter and Hurley.
  10. Going well,, but then held up by the SE corner 20 ac/d and 21. Finally Worked out Brill (not that common in the local chippy) and the others followed. My favourite today was 15ac with its very nice surface. Invariant
  11. This was easier than the last few days I thought. I was held up at the end by 2d as I did not think silly=ass but in the end I relented as nothing better occurred to me. Favourite 4d. Time not clear as had several interruptions but under 20 minutes. David
  12. This was easier than the last few days I thought. I was held up at the end by 2d as I did not think silly=ass but in the end I relented as nothing better occurred to me. Favourite 4d. Time not clear as had several interruptions but under 20 minutes. David

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