Merry Christmas by Beet
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have the first of three seasonal puzzles, this one from Beet. 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.
Many thanks for the seasonal cheer that Beet has provided for us. As others have commented, a nice crossword but with arguably too many initial letter clues but otherwise not many problems with the wordplay. I particularly liked 2d the linking of 7d and 24d/20a.
1 On the contrary, it’s a must as a stocking filler (7)
SATSUMA – A reversed hidden word (on the contrary) in IT’S A MUST AS. Although on the contrary indicates the reversal, there is no hidden word indicator.
5 Here in France it’s freezing – minus two (3)
ICI – Remove the final two letters from a word (as a verb) meaning freezing.
7 Something dangerous hidden in Christmas pudding (3)
ASP – The answer is hidden in CHRISTMAS PUDDING.
9 Debauched man bed a short young lady – Carol (4,3,8)
ADAM LAY Y’BOUNDEN – An anagram (debauched) of MAN BED A YOUN LADY. Short young tells us to remove the final letter of young .
10 Ending of quite awful wisecrack: “it looks like reindeer” (3)
ELK – The final letters of quitE awfuL wisecracK. Strictly, this should be endings of… for the cryptic grammar to work. As Mrs Claus said when Santa asked what the weather was like, “It looks like reindeer.”
11 Disentangle first two couples from underneath mistletoe – kiss! (5)
UNMIX – The first two letters (couples) of UNderneath MIstletoe followed by the letter representing a kiss.
12 Measure of snowfall: six inches? or 4? (5)
DEPTH – Another word for 4d could also represent the amount of snow that has fallen.
13 Good man full of love, middle of abdomen is what gets stuck in chimney (4)
SOOT – Two Os (love and middle letter of abdomen) go inside the abbreviation for saint (good man).
14 Ogle South Londoner’s mince pies (4)
EYES – Word meaning ogle followed by the abbreviation for south.
16 Sounds like Christmas dinner is tongue (5)
TURKI – A homophone (sounds like) of Turkey.
18 Sparkling silver loveliness of winter entrances (5)
AGLOW – The chemical symbol for silver followed by the initial letters (entrances) of Loveliness Of Winter.
19 It appears in the forecasts nowadays (4)
SNOW – The answer is hidden in (appears in) FORECASTS NOWADAYS.
20 See 24 Down
22 Last of advocaat consumed by midday, that’s unacceptable (3,2)
NOT ON – The final letter of advocaat goes inside another word for midday.
23 Initially Santa tried assigning individual reindeer for each part of flight (5)
STAIR – The initial letters of Santa Tried Assigning Individual Reindeer.
25 A single Christmas ornament is on display from 1st to 3rd of the month (3)
DEC – I assume that this is the first to third letters of December. There is no authority in Chambers for a dec being an abbreviated form of decoration.
27 Feature in Father Christmas’ local paper (3,5,7)
THE POLAR EXPRESS – … a feature film might fancifully be the name of the newspaper that Santa Reads. A question mark to indicate that the wordplay is fanciful would have been appropriate here.
28 Starts to dread office staff parties (3)
DOS – The initial letters of Dread Office Staff.
29 Beginning to get in the spirit (3)
GIN – The initial letter (beginning) of Get followed by the IN from the clue.
30 Mopes about Christmas trees (7)
REPINES – A two letter word meaning about followed by a type of tree used for Christmas trees.
1 A sled crashed and was responsible for Merry Xmas Everybody (5)
SLADE – An anagram (crashed) of a sled.
2 A, H, K, N, O, T, U and Y (5,3,7)
THANK YOU LETTERS – What you may write on receipt of a Christmas present are collective represented by the characters in the clue.
3 Key ingredient of Glühwein that’s dotty (6)
UMLAUT – The name of the two dots above the U in GlÜhwein.
4 Baby’s motherland somewhere in Gulf? Just the opposite (5)
ABYSM – The answer is hidden inside BABYS MOTHERLAND – The gulf is in there somewhere!
5 Mail arrives here, like Christmas presents (2-5)
IN-BOXES – Where e-mails arrive could also be where you find your Christmas presents.
6 Half of us in pub on 25th December, say, and it’s overrun (8)
INUNDATE – The first letter (half of) US goes inside another word for a pub and this is followed by a word for something that 25 December is an example of.
7 Dad, rare painting is bizarre and (with 24 and 20) impractical present (3,1,9,2)
AND A PARTRIDGE IN – an anagram (is bizarre) of DAD RARE PAINTING.
8 Queue for drink at party to get to the other side? (9)
PUNCHLINE – Split 5,4 this might be a queue to get to that alcoholic fruity flavoured drink in a bowl. “To get to the other side” is an example of the answer.
13 Put on play including leading parts of Narrator, Aladdin and Twankey. Fresh and original? Oh no it isn’t! (9)
STAGNATE – The initial letters (leading parts of) Narrator, Aladdin and Twankey go inside a word meaning to put on a play.
15 We heard “Noël, Noël” in new arrangement, it goes on for ages (3)
EON – Remove an L (NO L as a homophone of the first Noel) from Noel and make an anagram (in new arrangement) of the remaining letters.
17 Final performance could be The Twelve Days of Christmas (4,4)
SWAN SONG – Well the song does have seven of these swimming. The link is tenuous.
19 Make alterations to Santa Suit; having taken a little off the bottom of each piece, keep going (7)
SUSTAIN – An anagram (make alterations to) SANT SUI with the final letters having being removed (a little of the bottom of each piece) from Santa suit.
21 Prepare presents or prepare oneself for winter weather (4,2)
WRAP UP – What you might do when covering presents with paper is also what you do when you put on a coat, scarf and gloves when going out.
24/20 A lively repartee is, along with 7, one of my true love’s many gifts (1,4,4)
A PEAR TREE – The A from the clue followed by an anagram (lively) of REPARTEE.
26 Leaders of carollers although sloshed keep singing, they can hold booze (5)
CASKS – The initial letters (leaders of) Carollers Although Sloshed Keep Singing.