A Puzzle by Mitz
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today’s entertainment is provided by Mitz. 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.
A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
Congratulations to Mitz with a cracker of a crossword. The outer two columns form a Nina (WOT NO THEME). No major issues with the clues except for 16d and a blind spot on my part in parsing 17a for which Gazza’s help was required.
1 Craven Icelandic conflict Germany left until last (6)
COWARD – A famous fishing dispute with Iceland had the D for Germany moved leftwards to the end.
4 It’s plain: Dad’s taking my half (6)
PAMPAS – Put one half of the word MY inside another word for dad’s retaining the s from the “‘s” at the end.
9 Hint of tungsten in potassium? (4)
WINK – The chemical symbol for tungsten followed by the IN from the clue and the chemical symbol for potassium.
10 More unfashionable as well, mirrored 25’s being 5 (6,4)
SQUARE ROOT – …the mathematical relationship between 25 and 5. A word meaning more unfashionable is followed by a reversal (mirrored) of a word meaning as well.
11 Handle nothing unknown, entering equal (6)
OPENER – The letter for nothing or zero followed by a letter representing any number inside (entering) a word for an equal. Usually unknown is used for x, y or z and N is clued as number or any number.
12 Awkward jerk goes to Malaysian capital – is he drug-free? (8)
TICKLISH – A three letter word for jerk or spasm followed by the abbreviation for Kuala Lumpa (capital of Malaysia) and the IS HE from the clue without the abbreviation for ecstasy (drug-free).
13 Brand new, evicted from country, threat regularly commences (9)
TRADEMARK – Remove the N (new) from the name of a Scandinavian country and add at the beginning the odd letters (regularly) of ThReAt.
15 Man, a good man, comes back to power in Russia (4)
TSAR – The abbreviation for a man on a chess board followed by the A from the clue and the abbreviation for a saint (good man) are all reversed.
16 Solid signal describing breadth (4)
CUBE – Another word for a signal or hint goes around the abbreviation for breadth.
17 Precise sound of cricket on the radio, I thought! (9)
NIETZSCHE – A homophone (on the radio) of NEAT (precise) and CHIRR (sound of cricket). Thank you to Gazza for pointing out Chirr as I could not get beyond chirp!
21 Established in low country, mixing gin to have one before flying (8)
NESTLING – The abbreviation for established goes inside the IVR code for Holland (low country) and this is followed by an anagram (mixing) of GIN.
22 Two articles on making a monarch leave to their tune (6)
ANTHEM – An indefinite article followed by the definite article and the MAKING from the clue without A KING (a monarch) leave.
24 Choose to conceal vandalised censer with key that is well known – don’t mention it (4,6)
OPEN SECRET – A three letter word meaning choose includes (to conceal) an anagram (vandalised) of CENSOR and a note from the musical scale (key).
25 It’s played, offering seconds of good, above-board merriment (4)
OBOE – The second letters of gOod aBove bOard mErriment.
26 Quickly and in brief: leader, too heartless (6)
PRESTO – The abbreviation for president (brief leader) followed by the out letters (heartless) of too.
27 Yank talking about common symbol in Sino-Cymric traditions? (6)
DRAGON – A four letter word for yank or pull followed by a word meaning talking about.
1 Initially come in, comparatively fine and dandy (7)
CHIPPER – The first letter (initially) of come followed by a word meaning in or more trendy (comparatively).
2 Rouse white monster, first of klaxons ringing away (5)
WAKEN – The abbreviation for white followed by the name of a monster in with the KR removed (first of klaxons ringing away)
3 Stage in Rio I leave to play guitar (7)
ROSTRUM – Remove the “I” from Rio and follow this by a word meaning to play the guitar.
5 Coffee sailor abandoned, loudly entering our ancestral home (6)
AFRICA – Remove the AB (sailor) from a type of coffee an include (entering) the abbreviation for loudly.
6 Aim of strike, April says, is confused (9)
PARALYSIS – An anagram (confused) of APRIL SAYS.
7 At heart senses the trail is around back (7)
SPONSOR – The central letters (at heart) of senses with another word for a trail around them.
8 Orders: “Urgent! Be first!” – he drops everything (13)
BUTTERFINGERS – An anagram (orders) of URGENT BE FIRST.
14 Nice of headless, misshapen beast into live young lady! (9)
DEBUTANTE – The French (Nice) for “of” followed by a word meaning live inside which you dd a word for a misshapen monster with the first letter removed (headless).
16 Relieve yourself, churchman, but be furtive about it! (5,2)
CREEP UP – A three letter word meaning to micturate followed by the abbreviation for Roman Catholic which have to be made into a reversal clue to give CR + EEP UP. I don’t think that this clue works as the “!” at the end of the clue does not give a sufficient indication that the solver has to build a reversal clue from the wordplay.
18 Krakatoa’s terrible core gives one a grilling (7)
TOASTER – The answer is hidden inside (core) KRAKATOA’S TERRIBLE
19 Hot poem coming up – acknowledge outside party (7)
HOEDOWN – The abbreviation for hot followed by a word meaning to acknowledge or have around (outside) the reversal (coming up) of a three letter word for poetry.
20 Give penny to the fountain, returning out of interest (6)
DIVERT – The abbreviation for an old penny followed by a reversal (returning) of a famous Italian fountain. I think that wordplay out of definition is probably the wrong way around. Definition out of wordplay would work better.
23 Violet’s 22 is very brief (5)
THONG – How Violet Elizabeth from Just William would pronounce SONG (another word for 22a). I don’t think that “very brief” works very well as the definition but this may be personal preference speaking.