A Puzzle by Silvanus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have a debut puzzle from Silvanus. 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.
Welcome to Silvanus with an interesting crossword that had good number of good clues and a handful that needed a bit more love and attention – but on the positive side, the number of good clues greatly outweighed those that were unconventional. As others have commented, the grid is unorthodox. The general rule is that all parts of the grid should be connected. The greater the degree of connection, the easier it is for the solver to get cross-checking letters. This grid contained four unconnected crosswords and would not be acceptable in any of the daily papers.
7 Make the horse-riding community unhappy (5)
UPSET – If those riding horses are up, a group of them (2,3) might make a word meaning unhappy.
8 Passed the necessary exams, but with reservations (9)
QUALIFIED – A double definition of your status having passed exams and a word meaning subject to conditions or reservations.
10 Small boy finally saw vessel overturned by legendary sea monster (6)
KRAKEN – A diminutive boy’s name goes after (finally) a reversal (overturned) of a vessel or rescue boat. The “saw” here does not contribute to the wordplay. It might have better been clued as “Vessel overturned by small boy and sea monster.”
11 Pass judgement on the form of words to be used (8)
SENTENCE – A double definition of what a judge does when passing judgement and a word describing a series of words.
12 Hints on tackling insect pests include an empty honey jar (6)
THRIPS – A word meaning hints goes around the first and last letters (empty) of honey jar. It is usual to put the definition at the beginning or end of the clue, not in the middle. Empty honey jar does not mean HJ. You would need to add a – between honey-jar to make this work. There also seem to be a plethora of containment indicators with tackling and include. Perhaps “Hints about empty honey-jar used to get insects”
13 It was awfully rude to have island competition taking place along a grooved track (6)
RUTTED – An anagram (awfully) of RUDE about the abbreviation for the time trials that take place on the Isle of Man. Where ever possible it is better to have clues in the present tense when describing the wordplay. The anagram remains awfully rude, not in the past! I don’t think that “to have” is the best insertion indicator. It is more usually an indicator to add two words together.
15 From the outskirts of Southampton, a monarch is following a winding route (7)
SNAKING – The first and last letters (outskirts) of Southampton followed by the A from the clue and another word for a male monarch.
16 Underground plant stem I find in European capital between searches in Hamburg and Zagreb initially (7)
RHIZOME – The I from the clue goes between the first letters (initially) of Hamburg and Zagreb and the resulting three letters go inside the capital of Italy (European capital). I am not sure what the “searches in” contributes to the clue or the surface reading. Also, read literally, the cryptic grammar tells you to put the I in the European capital and for these letters to be put between the H and Z. Some editors will not permit constructions such as I find as you would not say A (or any other letter) find in… This could be corrected by “one found in…”
20 A Frenchman might ring concerning plant covering (6)
CLOCHE – The French word for bell gives its name (from the shape) to a type of protective structure used to cover young plants.
23 Grand girl played in London’s East End? (6)
JOANNA – This girl’s name is also an East End term for a piano or grand.
25 Brass instrument used to hold papers together in France (8)
TROMBONE – The French word for a paperclip is also the name for a musical instrument (the bent shapes bear a passing similarity).
26 It’s evident that a Bach or a Liszt composition would be the most suitable music for a singing group (6)
CHORAL – The answer is hidden in (it’s evident that) BACH OR A LISZT.
27 Enticed given idle speculation (9)
INVEIGLED – An anagram (speculation) of GIVEN IDLE.
28 Offspring of a pair it’s heard (5)
FRUIT – A homophone of PEAR (pair it’s heard).
1 Grasp the meaning of arrest (9)
APPREHEND – A double definition meaning to understand and to catch a criminal.
2 We recognise that a long twisted kink in the chain could be its Achilles’ heel (4,4)
WEAK LINK – The WE from the clue followed by an anagram (twisted) of A L (long) KINK. In this clue putting the anagram indicator in the middle of the anagram letters does not work. A twisted with B would work but not A twisted B. I am not enamoured with “recognise that” in the clue as a word sum or charade indicator.
3 South African in luxury vehicle has the means around him to purchase scholarship grant (7)
BURSARY – The abbreviation for South African goes inside the abbreviation for Rolls Royce (luxury vehicle) and this goes inside a word meaning to purchase. Again, the words the “means around him” do not add to the wordplay and are potentially confusing.
4 Map used by alien to reach Earth, for example (6)
PLANET – Another word for a plan followed by the abbreviation for extra-terrestrial or alien.
5 Notes on garden party revealed it was self-indulgent (6)
EFFETE – Two notes of the musical scale followed by a gala or party that may be held in the garden.
6 Sure sounds also like an impressive feature of the forest (5)
BEECH – A homophone of sure is shore, which is another word for a beach, which is a homophone of this forest tree. This is a clue to a clue so is unfair on the solver. 28a came perilously close to this. 6d steps over the line and runs far from it.
9 Socialist leader within workers’ organisation achieves complete agreement (6)
UNISON – The first letter (leader) of socialist goes inside the name of a worker’s organisation.
14 I coin a mad and original description of an organic compound (5,4)
AMINO ACID – An anagram (original descriptioni of I COIN A MAD.
17 Greet sailor despite his criminal activity (6)
HIJACK – A two letter word for a greeting followed by a colloquial term for a sailor. Greet is a verb and is being use to indicate a noun. Also, the definition his criminal activity would give hijacking not hijack. The despite in the clue is not a good link word and does not contribute to the wordplay.
18 Wrote lazy, rambling account about how the West lacked fanaticism (8)
ZEALOTRY – An anagram (rambling account) of WROTE LAZY without the W (west lacking). About how the west lacked, as a phrase does not really tell you to remove the W.
19 Allow young animal always to enter (7)
LEVERET – A word meaning always goes inside (to enter) a word meaning allow. Again the rule that the definition does at the start or end of the clue has not been followed.
21 Aquatic creature on the rocks is mine (6)
LIMPET – A double definition of a sea creature that lives on the rocks and is difficult to remove that gives its name to a type of explosive mine that clings to the side of something.
22 Bird is inclined to puff noisily (6)
CHOUGH – A homophone (noisily) of cough (to puff?)
24 Cross under a Swedish bridge in a district of New York (5)
BRONX – The letter representing a cross underneath the Swedish name for a bridge. Despite the recent series on BBC 4, expecting solvers to know Swedish words is a bit much.