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St 4906

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terryfish | 12:20 Fri 12th Jun 2020 | Crosswords
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7a Surprises wife, lurking in recessed place in field (4) W-W-

This must be WOWS, but I can't parse the whole clue.

Many thanks
  

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Wows - 'w(ife)' (in) 'sow' (place in field, back)
Recessed (backward) sow = place in field and
W(ife) in Sow reversed


Sow - place in field
Missed the w
Question Author
Ahhhhhh!!! Many thanks
I'm not surprised that you couldn't parse this, as 'recessed' does not mean 'reversed' no matter how much the setter would like it to.
Perhaps the setter looked at Chambers -

recess ...a going back or withdrawing...

& thought that gives -

recessed ...gone back, withdrawn...

Perfectly ok IMO.
Origin

mid 16th century (in the sense ‘withdrawal, departure’): from Latin recessus, from recedere ‘go back’ (see recede). The verb dates from the early 19th century.
We can discount 'recessed' being an adjective, as that means either 'set into a recess' or 'suffering economic recession'. So it must be the past participle of the transitive verb 'to recess'; the only meaning of this which comes close to suggesting reversal is 'to set back', but this is in the sense of something being set away from something else, not turned round, eg 'His house stood recessed from the road'.

'Receding', 'in recess' or 'in recession' would all be ok for me, but something that's been 'recessed' has not been turned back to front. We'll just have to agree to differ on this one :-)

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