Quick cryptic No 753 by Hurley

An enjoyable offering by Hurley, which took me 13 minutes to complete, although it isn’t all satisfactorily parsed as you will see below.  There is a nice mixture of cryptic devices, including several anagrams, a spoonerism, first, last and outside letters, hidden words and flat-pack assembly clues.

If someone can help with the only partially-parsed 14a, I would be grateful.  (On edit – someone (anonymous) did – now corrected.)

Group of outsiders in strange cult (4)
SECT – An interesting device to get us started.  Outsiders (opening and closing letters) in S{trang}E C{ul}T
Nearby worker making case for radio presenter, brilliant (8)
ADJACENT – The worker is the ubiquitous ANT, which surrounds (makes the case for) the DJ (radio presenter) and ACE (brilliant)
Spill from a keg ale upset (7)
LEAKAGE – Anagram of [A KEG ALE]
10  Book journey for one getting hitched (5)
BRIDE – B{ook} and RIDE is the journey
11  Large specimen unopened (5)
AMPLE – My last one in (LOI) for no good reason.  A specimen could be a {s}AMPLE with unopened indicating to drop the first letter – nice surface.
12  Case requires silence about preliminary heat (6)
SHEATH – HEAT is the preliminary race, and finds itself inside SH (silence about)
14  Inclination about right remedy including very progressive educational indicator (8,6)
LEARNING CURVE – LEANING is the inclination, which is about R{ight} to provide the first word. I’m less sure about the parsing for the second word, where a curve could just be a progressive line.  Perhaps someone else has something better. The CURVE comes from ‘remedy’ CURE including V{ery}.  The answer though is fairly obvious given the checkers.
17  Male at racecourse finding source of luck? (6)
MASCOT – M{ale} with ASCOT (racecourse sometimes, although not last Saturday, when the meeting was cancelled due to frozen conditions)
19  Sophisticated, put money aside to cover University (6)
SUAVE – To put money aside is to SAVE, around U{niversity}.  My Chambers describes SUAVE as being a characteristic of a person, especially a man, who is polite, sophisticated and smoothly affable, especially superficially so. This implies that in order to be SUAVE, it would be better that you be male and that you don’t really mean it.  I think it strange to see two such conditions applied to such a simple word.
22  Cancel validity of a new name initially used lawfully (5)
ANNUL – A (a) N{ew} N{ame} followed by the first letters of (initially) U{sed} L{awfully}
23  Clothes objection for Spooner that suggests drinking habit? (4,3)
BEER GUT – The Reverend William Archibald Spooner famously transposed the initial sounds of spoken words, and spoonerisms were born, to add to the lexicon of cryptic crossword devices.  This is an example.  A clothing objection might be a GEAR BUT, which after spoonerising becomes BEER GUT.  There are plenty of amusing examples of real spoonerisms, including:  at a wedding, ‘It is kisstomary to cuss the bride’, or ‘A toast to our queer old dean’ rather than ‘dear old Queen’.  Worth a Google to see other examples (other internet search engines are available).
24  New ringtone is a gas (8)
NITROGEN – straightforward anagram (indicated by ‘new’) of [RINGTONE]
25  Encourage pop singer to record last of all (4)
PROD – Last letters (last of all) of {po}P {singe}R {t}O {recor}D.

1 Really fit, about 55, being possible to work out (8)
SOLVABLE – Really fit gives SO ABLE, which is ‘about’ LV (55 in Roman numerals)
Immobilize reticent type, parking (5)
CLAMP – the reticent type is a CLAM, followed by P{arking}
Furniture item shown by neat girls’ beds, fancy (8,5)
DRESSING TABLE – My first one in (FOI), a nicely clued anagram, indicated this time by ‘fancy’, with [NEAT GIRLS’ BEDS] as the anagrist.  I usually take a look at the long answers first, and to find a relatively easy anagram is a bonus, and gives me a good start.
Move slowly shifting blame (5)
AMBLE – Another anagram indicated by ‘shifting’ of [BLAME]
One turning out as English winner (7)
EVICTOR – E{nglish} and VICTOR (winner) gives he that ‘turns out’ the evictee
7  This ends regularly with scores level (4)
TIED – Alternate letters (regularly) of T{h}I{s} E{n}D{s}
8  In Africa vernacular term for underground area (6)
CAVERN – Hidden answer clue indicated by ‘in’, the answer being in plain sight in {afri}CA VERN{acular}
13  Leading player bestriding the French court is chosen
SELECTED – A SEED is a leading player, and this ‘bestrides’ LE (the in French) and C{our}T
15  Hostile to saga not starting on fashionable street (7)
AGAINST – {s}AGA (not starting) with IN (fashionable) and ST{reet}
16  Actors welcoming King, Eastern, providing jewel container (6)
CASKET – The actors are the CAST, which welcomes (surrounds) K{ing} and E{astern}
18  Musical instrument in simple room, old (5)
CELLO – Simple room is a CELL, with O{ld}
20  Fisherman, left out – annoyance results (5)
ANGER – Take the L (L{eft} out) of ANG{l}ER
21  Answer in half minute: pipe (4)
MAIN – Half minute gives MIN{ute}, which has A{nswer} in it.

21 comments on “Quick cryptic No 753 by Hurley”

    1. AAH. I missed the word ‘remedy’ when I retyped the clue, and just looked at the blog I was writing rather than at the crossword I had completed. Many thanks – I’ll edit the blog now.
  1. 25 minutes for me today. All done bar four in 15 minutes (and the four stragglers were actually quite obvious) but they refused to reveal themselves easily. An enjoyable outing. Thanks Hurley.

  2. 25 minutes for me today. All done bar four in 15 minutes (and the four stragglers were actually quite obvious) but they refused to reveal themselves easily. An enjoyable outing. Thanks Hurley.

  3. I’ve had faster times, but I think this is my first ever “clean sweep”, to use a Tony Sever-ism, ie solving each clue before proceeding to the next one. Tony has often mentioned (on the 15×15 blog) that he may sacrifice a fast time in order to complete a clean sweep, and now I see what he means.

    Anyway, the upshot is that this may not have been the most challenging Quicky we’ve had recently.

    Thanks Hurley and Rotter.

  4. Nice puzzle, but nearly a minute behind galspray. Possibly too many biffables e.g. DRESSING TABLE, LEARNING CURVE. Nice Spoonerism too. Thanks rotter and Hurley. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
  5. A good variety of clues today in what proved to be an enjoyable solve in an average time (17 minutes). I tend to associate 16d with funerals rather than jewels but the clueing was clear and I often struggle with spoonerisms but i found this one quite straightforward – maybe because I can relate to the answer! LOI 6d, COD 1a
  6. Slow start but it picked up nicely and hit the tape at 6.37.

    I don’t treasure the diminutive albino William Archibald Spooner as does our Mr. Rotter and I suspect that the good reverend was something of a dullard – some of those quotes are attr.


  7. Most of this flew in and I really thought I was going to beat 20 mins for only the second time. However, with the finish in sight, I came to a full stop with 6, 10 and 17 left. In the end I had to go away and come back for a second go. There must be a word for not being able to see what becomes blindingly obvious – something more elegant than ‘stupidity’. Invariant
  8. Very straightforward. I needed two looks at ADJACENT which probably cost me a sub-5 finish (that and a frozen ipad tryping finger).
  9. Lots of interruptions but I finished in under 30 mins.

    Lots of interesting clues. I liked 2d clamp and 5d amble.

    All the parsing was ok except 1a I thought it was a double def until I read the blog.

    Last few were 11a (ample), 24a (nitrogen), 2d (clamp) and 21d (main). Clam for reticent type was good, I was initially clinging to shy.

    Nitrogen took an inordinate amount of time considering I had _IT_O_E_ with GRNN as the rest of the anagram fodder!

  10. No particular problems or hold-ups today but I felt I used every club in the bag to solve this enjoyable puzzle. 14 minutes. Thanks Rotter and Hurley. David
  11. An interesting week so far. This not so hard once I got tuned in. Over couple of sessions I estimate about 25 minutes! FOI 17a mascot; LOI 1d solvable; COD 13d selected.
  12. This retirement lark is keeping me so busy, I’m back to finishing reading the paper the day after it arrives. I usually do the main cryptic with breakfast each day, but the quickie tends to get relegated. It’s nearly 1am now so I’m technically 2 days behind with this one! 8:45 with nothing to frighten the horses although it took me almost a minute for the penny to drop at 1a. Liked BEER GUT. Haven’t even started reading Friday’s paper yet, but I did watch the youngest grandson(8) get a couple of strikes at Hollywood Bowl:-) Thanks Rotter and Hurley.
  13. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! The first Times cryptic crossword I’ve completed. Took a few days, but you gotta start somewhere 🙂
    1. Congratulations anonymous! It really does feel good to get that first completion achieved. Like John D above, I’m retired and frequently behind the times, this being a puzzle I overlooked earlier! Enjoy the journey. banjo

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