February 5th, 2021

Quick Cryptic 1804 by Wurm

I ripped through this in 5 minutes, in may cases without parsing, and on reflection there are some absolute crackers. I'm particularly fond of 1ac, 8ac, 14 ac and 3 dn, but overall the surfaces are fantastic. I'm not sure we see many cross-reference clues like 6dn/12dn in the QC, but this one is fairly straightforward. There are lots of examples of Curarist's 1st law, which says to unlock a clue you change the part of speech. E.g 8 ac PASTY is pretending to be a noun when it's an adjective; 13 MAN is pretending to be a noun when it's a verb; as is16 ac SNOWBALL.

Across
1 Change at Naples for Nice (8)
PLEASANT - Anagram ('change') of AT NAPLES
5 Beer's mine with an indefinite number consumed (4)
PINT - PIT with N inside
8 Starters of artichokes served with chicken pasty (5)
ASHEN - A + S + HEN
9 Blooming bed clothes don't wear out! (7)
BLASTED - BED placed outside ('clothes') LAST
11 Model boats moved around river in vital flow (11)
BLOODSTREAM - Anagram ('moved') of MODEL BOATS with R for river inside.
13 Killer’s success with staff (3,3)
HIT MAN - HIT (success) MAN (staff - verb)
14 Is this where bankers are hiding cream cake? (6)
ECLAIR - EC is the postcode often used as shorthand for the City of London, where all the banks are, LAIR is somewhere to hide,
16 Snowball put out a petrol fire (11)
PROLIFERATE - Anagram ('put out') of A PETROL FIRE
18 Six grand to put in soon in French city (7)
AVIGNON - VI (six) + G (grand) inside ANON
19 Royal attendant John having suntan? (5)
BROWN - Double definition, the first referring to the servant of Queen Victoria. He was played by Billy Connoly in Mrs Brown (1997) with Judi Dench as Victoria.
20 Has some food in great steakhouse (4)
EATS - hidden word: grEAT Steakhouse
21 Conceals mysteries about English (8)
SECRETES - SECRETS with E inside.

Down
1 Drive after parking vehicle used by mum (4)
PRAM - P + RAM
2 Show-off one to wear fancy tie in this box (13)
EXHIBITIONIST - Anagram ('fancy') of TIE IN THIS BOX with I added
3 Changing beat, I stay on ground to cover new cop (11)
SYNCOPATION - Anagram ('ground') of I STAY ON placed around N COP
4 Unimportant person’s problem encountered in solving murder? (6)
NOBODY - Solving a murder is a problem if there's no body.
6 Sharing similar problems, as 12s are? (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT - 12s being shipmates
7 Note on country lacking northern coastline? (8)
TIDEMARK - TI (note - as in do re me etc) + DENMARK minus N for northern
10 There cabman shakes in waiting room (11)
ANTECHAMBER - Anagram ('shakes') of THERE CABMAN
12 Sailor Small accompanies really cool friend (8)
SHIPMATE - S + HIP + MATE
15 Such a gathering as might raise the spirits? (6)
SEANCE - cryptic definition
17 Duty — and where so often it seems to lie? (4)
ONUS - On Us.