A Puzzle by Futhark
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Futhark returns with a puzzle that he hopes will be better than his last one. I’m sure you will let him know if he has succeeded. 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.
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A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
Welcome back to Futhark with a crossword where the clues themselves were all fair and reasonable with little to comment on but with a grid that can only be described as something of a train crash. The problem is with the triple unches, particularly in the two long down clues with three sets in each solution. One of the basic rules in constructing a grid is that answers should have 50% or more of the letters cross-checked with other solutions. Here, particularly in the clues around the edges, the checking was as low as 33%.
1 Curiosity, dropping in after current short, develops avarice (15)
ACQUISITIVENESS – The abbreviation for alternating current followed by a word meaning curiosity with the initial IN removed (dropping in). The word “short” could have been omitted here.
7 Bloom? Alternatively, catch nothing (7)
ORLANDO – … the actor. A two letter word meaning alternatively followed by a word meaning catch (as you might **** a fish) followed by the letter that looks like 0 or nothing.
9 Goblin is carrying pancakes (5)
BLINI – The answer is hidden inside (carrying) GOBLIN IS.
11/22/13 Comments on poison, lacking nothing – mad? Out of one’s mind! (3,6,6)
NON COMPOS MENTIS – An anagram (mad) of COMMENTS ON POISON after removing (lacking) the letter that looks like 0 or nothing (as this has already been used in 7a, a different indicator for O should have been chosen here).
12 Pin-up Guido loves inside (4)
IDOL –The answer is hidden inside GUIDO LOVES.
13 See 11
16 I hear naught, sister! (3)
NUN – A homophone (I hear) of none.
17/18 Mix fat stack into quick-dry glue (4,4)
FAST TACK – An anagram (mix) of FAT STACK. A pity that the second part of the answer also appears in the second word of the anagram fodder.
19 Tuber (small), followed by dessert (4)
SPUD – The abbreviation for small followed by the diminutive word for pudding.
21 Fix half of bridge in parts (3)
RIG – Half of the letters of bridge. Clues such as these where letters are taken irregularly from one word to give the solution occasionally appear in daily cryptics followed by adverse comments the blogs.
22 See 11
24 First, reportedly torture Arab’s spirit (4)
ARAK – The first letter of the alphabet followed by a homophone (reportedly) of RACK (torture).
26 Warp network (3)
WEB – A double definition. I think that the two definitions here are very similar. Double definitions work best where there is clear water between the two meanings.
28 See 4 Down
29/10 Crazy ‘sandman’ ails and lands in Indian Ocean (7,7)
ANDMANS ISLANDS – An anagram (crazy) of SANDMAN AILS AND.
30 Betray one with dorsal puncture (4,2,2,3,4)
STAB ME IN THE BACK – The act of betrayal of injuring the setter (one) possibly for including eleven triple unches in the grid and solutions with much less than 50% checking letters in the solutions.
1 Treatment of presidential terms (15)
ADMINISTRATIONS – A double definition.
2 Fungal food in liquor noggin (5)
QUORN – The answer is hidden inside LIQUOR NOGGIN.
3 Scottish John follows headless lion into sea (6)
IONIAN – Remove the L from lion and follow it with the Scottish equivalent of the name John.
4/28 Flatten cow skin (minus top) and rust (4,5)
IRON OXIDE – Another word meaning to flatten or decrease clothes followed by a two letter word for a type of cow and a type of skin with the top letter removed.
5 Covered in 26a, decapitated and diminished (5)
EBBED – Take a word meaning covered in a web and removed the first letter (decapitated).
6 Device to make 24 in the neighbourhood remains unsold (5,2,3,5)
STILL ON THE BLOCK – What is used to make alcoholic spirits followed by a word meaning in the neighbourhood. This is a rare use of the meaning unsold although the final three words are given in Chambers as meaning up for auction.
8 Sounds like sheep rump for summer feast! (6)
LAMMAS – … 1st August – an old harvest festival day. A homophone (sounds like) LAMB ASS.
10 See 29 Across
12 River goddess (4)
ISIS – A double definition of the river Thames at Oxford and an Egyptian goddess.
14 Symbol of child (little Emma) (5)
TOTEM – A three letter word for a child followed by the diminutive form of Emma.
15 Madly, I fan hag (Asian) (7)
AFGHANI – An anagram (madly) of I FAN HAG.
18 See 17 Across
20 Marsupial initially pads over soft sand, then hesitates (6)
POSSUM – The first letters (initially) of Pads Over Soft Sand followed by a word expressing a verbal hesitation.
23 Commentator apparently made wordplay before Italian (6)
PUNDIT – A homophone (apparently) of PUNNED (made wordplay) followed by the abbreviation for Italian.
25 One pole alongside ship (5)
ABEAM – The A from the clue followed by a word for a pole.
26 Treasure silly Wogan (5)
WONGA – An anagram (silly) of WOGAN.
27 Primarily, dentist alleviates rip in 15’s tongue (4)
DARI – The initial letters (primarily) of Dentist Alleviates Rip In.