A Puzzle by Axolotl
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Axolotl is another who has caught the setting bug so enjoy this, his fourth, puzzle. As usual, the setter will be delighted to receive feedback from you, the solvers. I do ask that you remember that for most setters this is a new experience, so please only offer constructive criticism.
If you have a puzzle you would like to see published here then why not write to me, using the contact page. New or repeat entries are more than welcome.
Bravo to Axolotl with his best crossword yet. Other than the oft repeated mistake of confusing Ulster with Northern Ireland and a quibble over the clue at 25 across this was very good. There might have bee an overreliance of the anagram form A mixed with B to give C but this did not detract from the standard of the clues.
1 Lord’s pal’s reform removes crown (8)
POLLARDS – An anagram (reform) of LORDS PALS.
5 Home Counties sleeping underwater? (6)
SEABED – The area of England where the Home Counties are to be found followed by a word meaning sleeping or in bed.
9 Oil wheels with chat-up and perfume (9)
PATCHOULI – An anagram (wheels) of OIL CHAT UP.
11 Zero mark gets prize! (5)
OSCAR – A letter that looks like a zero followed by a mark left after a wound has healed.
12 Ace? Long! Failed to make set (7)
CONGEAL – An anagram (failed) of ACE LONG.
13 Beware of Caesar – fellow is a brute (7)
CAVEMAN – The Latin (of Caesar) for beware followed by another name for a fellow or male.
14 Waiting aboard ship before early start for shopping expedition (8,5)
SPENDING SPREE – Inside the abbreviation for a steamship include a word meaning waiting and follow this with a word meaning before and the first letter (start) of early.
16 Irresistible pulling power I gain dancing with Travolta! (13)
GRAVITATIONAL – An anagram (dancing) of I GAIN TRAVOLTA.
20 Leaves creased old suit with French friend (7)
ORIGAMI – The abbreviation for old followed by a word meaning suit and the French word for a friend.
21 Melodious fun playing with lute (7)
TUNEFUL – An anagram (playing) of FUN LUTE. Axolotl certainly like A mixed with B as an anagram format in this crossword!
23 Might be perfect sung round campfire? (5)
TENSE – An homophone (sung) of tents which might be found around a campfire.
24 Embark on this team exercise (9)
GANGPLANK – A word for a team followed by a word that is not yet in Chambers for an exercise that (according to Wikipedia) is “an isometric core strength exercise that involves maintaining a difficult position for extended periods of time”.
25 Heard these vegetables can help convert fat tummy to flat tummy and portly to sporty (6)
CARETS – A homophone (heard) of CARROTS to indicate where letters have been omitted from a piece of text. The fact that you have to delete the “l” from “portly” as well as add the s (that would be indicated by a caret) makes this clue slightly unfair as solver will be left wondering what happens to the “l”. Clues can mislead but not unfairly.
26 On the radio cool number little sister used to enter Land of Nod (8)
HYPNOSIS – A homophone (on the radio) of HIP (cool) followed by and abbreviation for number and an abbreviation for sister.
1 Father leading bishopric spoken of in Vatican government (6)
PAPACY – a four letter word for a father followed by a homophone (spoken of) SEE (bishopric).
2 Befuddled Italian has no answer – one lost for words in Rome (5)
LATIN – An anagram (lost) of ITALIAN after removing an A for answer and an I for one.
3 Win that’s victory gained by pain (7)
ACHIEVE – Put the abbreviation for that is (id est) and the abbreviation for Victory inside a word for a dull pain.
4 Dodgy practice from lookalike agency? (6-7)
DOUBLE STANDARDS – A semi-cryptic definition for the lookalikes that might be provided by a disreputable agency.
6 Changes and goes round topless (7)
EVOLVES – Remove the R from the beginning (topless in a down clue) from a word meaning goes round.
7 The likes of Parliament and Congress ordered America to keep British Left outside (9)
BICAMERAL – The abbreviations for British and Left go around an anagram (ordered) of AMERICA.
8 Exploit outside sounded crazy (8)
DERANGED – Another word for an exploit or act goes around (outside) a word meaning sounded (as a bell might have done).
10 As displayed by curate’s egg – first of clutch in cosy nest – I scrambled with last of bacon (13)
INCONSISTENCY – An anagram again the form A mixed with B of C (first of clutch) IN COSY NEST I N (last letter of bacon).
14 King Edward follows Victoria, perhaps, finding his nibs here? (9)
STATIONER – The two letter abbreviation for King Edward after an example of a terminus of which Victoria is an example (perhaps).
15 He doesn’t believe explicit song appropriate content to hold up (8)
AGNOSTIC – The answer is hidden and reversed (content to hold up) in EXPLICIT SONG APPROPRIATE.
17 Silliest place to find chick! (7)
INANEST – Split (2, 1, 4) this is where you would find a baby bird.
18 Write-up in Ulster Mirror set one up only to be knocked down (7)
NINEPIN – A word meaning write is reversed (up) inside the abbreviation for Ulster (cue complaints that Northern Ireland is not Ulster it is a part of Ulster – there will be letters from the Editor) and a reversal (mirror) of the same abbreviation.
19 Chaps most capable to keep well after losing case (6)
BLOKES – Put the abbreviation for well or acceptable inside ABLEST (most capable) after removing the outer letters (losing case).
22 Runs out of steam and could end up on the floor (5)
FLAGS – A double definition – the second part of the answer being another word for paving stones.
- Some clues will require you to switch letters around. This can be done in a number of ways.
Replace one letter with another
- Some clues require one letter in the wordplay to be replaced by another. Often this is combined with abbreviation indicators. For example “daughter leaves for Norway” might indicate that you replace the letter “D” with the letter “N”. The wordplay should give some indication that one letter is deleted and replaced by another.
- Sometimes, the swap might be more subtly clued. Changing hands might indicate replacing an L with an R or the reverse. Swapping partners might indicate exchanging N S or E for W. For example “Fish always changing hands (3)” for EEL from EER (always) having the R changed to L.
- Another way of indicating a change of letter might be simply saying that the word had a new letter at the beginning, middle or end without giving the letter that is substituted for the deleted letter. Clues such as “having a change of heart” or “with a new beginning” could suggest that the original letter in the clue is replaced with another one.
Swapping the order of letters
- A clue can instruct the solver to swap the beginning, middle or end letters around. Indicators such as turning tail might indicate changing the order of the final two letters or a spinning head changing the order of first two letters.
Moving the position of a letter
- A clue can instruct the solver to move the position of a letter. This could be to move the first letter the end or moving any letter left, right, up or down.
- “Cycling” as an indicator is often used to indicate moving the first letter to the end. Dropping the head or raising the tail in a down clue might indicate that the first or last letter is moved to an indeterminate position in the answer.
- These types of clue can be combined with abbreviations. “Lecturer moving east” might indicate in an across clue that the L moves to the left in the solution.