Quick Cryptic Number 637 by Hurley

After getting off to a flying start at the top of the grid, I ended up thinking this was quite a difficult quickie. There’s certainly some reference to general knowledge that one might not need to drag up every day, and I have a few questions for the hive mind (outlined in the blog), in particular around 16dn, which I cannot parse. Thankfully Tim, Horryd and Anon can! 23ac just pips 4dn for me in the COD stakes – both such clever wordplay. Thanks Hurley.

As usual, definitions are underlined.

1 Most untidy officers’ area that is beside street (8)
MESSIEST – MESS (officer’s area), IE (that is), and ST (street).
5 Abandoned port (4)
LEFT – double definition.
9 Rascal from South, affected (5)
SCAMP – S (south) and CAMP (affected).
10 Fowl list absorbing Oscar initially (7)
ROOSTER – ROSTER (list) containing (absorbing) first letter of (initially) Oscar.
11 Sun’s effect cheers knight (3)
TAN – TA (thanks, cheers) and N (knight in chess notation).
12 Home cider seen brewing (9)
RESIDENCE – anagram of (brewing) CIDER SEEN.
13 On return, refer to work in verse (6)
POETIC – CITE (refer to) and OP (opus, work) all backwards (on return). Although I can’t think of a sentence in which I could substitute verse for poetic.
15 Maybe fly home — southeast Connecticut (6)
INSECT – IN (home), SE (southeast), and CT (abbreviation for Connecticut).
17 Male adjusted flute container’s capacity (9)
BUCKETFUL – BUCK (male), with an anagram of (adjusted) FLUTE.
19 One active at night club? (3)
BAT – double definition, but cleverer than most.
20 Root for extremist (7)
RADICAL – double definition. Root (radical) change and someone with extreme views. No botany involved! Thanks again to tyrotim. I would have sworn that the botanical radicle is spelt thus. Unfortunately I am in the process of moving house so my reference books are in a box somewhere in the garage, and google is not giving me a definitive answer. Is this a variant spelling?
21 Dodge real hurdles on regular basis (5)
ELUDE – every other letter of (on a regular basis) rEaL hUrDlEs.
22 Such an accountant, earthy of course (4)
TURF – a turf accountant is a bookmaker. I think this may be a triple definition? If so, I’m not convinced of the second. I’ve probably missed something.
23 Tips on rare case, not likely, used not long ago (8)
RECENTLY – first and last letters of (tips on) RarE, CasE, NoT, and LikelY are used.
1 Error from teacher upset her favourite? (7)
MISSTEP – MISS (teacher), with PET (her favourite) backwards (upset).
2 Small nuisance in country (5)
SPAIN – S (small) and PAIN (nuisance).
3 Rudeness of men, recipient distraught (12)
IMPERTINENCE – anagram of (distraught) MEN RECIPIENT.
4 Classes very restless, teacher stressed at first (5)
SORTS – SO (very) and first letters of (at first) Restless, Teacher, and Stressed.
6 Understanding French in shelter ultimately possible (7)
ENTENTE – EN (French for in), TENT (shelter), and lest letter of (ultimately) possiblE.
7 Weary English in Scottish island (5)
TIREE – TIRE (weary), with E (english) inside. I’m not entirely on side with tire=weary, but that might just be me!
8 Once felled e.g. can become subject of myth (6,6)
GOLDEN FLEECE – anagram of (can become) ONCE FELLED EG.
14 Creator of secret message enclosed on German river (7)
ENCODER – ENC (enclosed) on ODER (German river).
16 Game of chance has time for learner, unsteady (7)
TOTTERYI cannot parse this clue, please help! As seen in the comments, lOTTERY (game of chance) with T (time) in place of L (learner).
17 Headwear from Aube retailer? (5)
BERET – hidden in auBE RETailer.
18 Iron also reduced inside? Not true (5)
FALSE – ALSo (missing last letter, reduced) inside FE (iron).
19 Outspoken Soviet spy (5)
BLUNT – double definition, the second referring to Anthony Blunt.

29 comments on “Quick Cryptic Number 637 by Hurley”

  1. Swap the L , learner, from Lottery, game of chance, for a T, time. Had me fooled for a bit.
  2. As with the blogger all going nicely until the SE corner to which I award all of them COD.
  3. From the OED (Especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough, root-and-branch is given as a synonym
  4. Thanks for the blog. I think it is Lottery started by T for Time rather than L for Learner.

    I thought this was on the tough side of the QC – 12.14.

    Nice to see Anthony Blunt having an airing!

    horryd – Shanghai

    1. Thanks to all you lovely people. I have spent all morning staring at that clue, so I’m glad to have it explained finally. The joy of cryptics.
      1. I’m not sure whether we are lovely people or just show-offs! As a relative newbie it is always a boost to be able to provide an answer when the always excellent bloggers can’t. Thanks to all of them for their help.


  6. I sometimes struggle with the QC as my maths education means I my ability to recall words is sometimes stretched, which is of course why I like them! On this occasion t comes up trumps. A radical in maths terms is a root as in square root.
  7. I must have been on the right wavelength today as I whizzed through this in 15 minutes – with just 4d unparsed (I could have stared at it all day and not figured out the so/very connection). I also guessed that root must have some connection to radical, but it was unknown to me. COD 18a.
  8. My experience was very similar to Plett above, except three times as long. 4d was my LOI and had me stumped for ages. There were some nicely crafted clues today, with 6d my favourite. Invariant
  9. Third easyish crossword in a row. Only problem for me was making was RADICAL = root. I must say I do really enjoy clues with plausible surfaces that hide simple words such as INSECT and BAT in today’s puzzle. Many thanks Hurley and William.
  10. 24 mins for me today. I seemed to be on Hurley’s wavelength with only the top right corner slowing me down somewhat. Nice to have some gentle puzzles for a change. The last few weeks seem to have been a real challenge one way or another.
  11. I agree that poetic doesn’t mean verse, but it does mean “in verse”.

    e.g. the grreting in my birthday card was in verse / poetic

    1. But consider:
      Homer’s verse account of the Trojan War
      Homer’s poetic account of the Trojan War.

      Surely the two words are interchangeable here?

      1. hmmm! I concede the point – just. But it must be very unusual in that usage, whereas “in verse” is fairly common, and I am confident that is what Hurley had in mind. Oxford dictionary does not have verse as an adjective.
  12. Late posting today, as have had a back tooth extracted, the root being about four times longer than you can see – a radical solution being the best in this case. Nice to see some GK, TIREE, as mentioned, took some parsing. 6’52” today. Thanks Hurley and william.
  13. “Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn” – fairly familiar perhaps.
  14. I know this is a bit late in the day to be of much use, but most of todays 15×15 is do-able.apart from the NE corner. The last across clue is . . unusual. Invariant
  15. so after 2 weeks in the sun I tried to charge up my brain. I think not being a brit is challenging. IE, 7D – I don’t know Scottish islands so had put TIRED and then 12A was impenetrable. I guess I will get there.

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