A Puzzle by Snape
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
It’s time for another new Rookie to put his head above the parapet. Snape thinks this is a fairly easy puzzle – do you agree? 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.
(review by Gazza)
Prolixic is having some time off following a family bereavement so I’m being a poor substitute this week. Before he passed the baton to me he did mention that this is Rookie number 52 which means that a year has passed since Rookie Corner was started and that a year-end review would be in order – I’m not going to attempt that (I’ll leave it for Prolixic next week). I’ll just say that BD’s brainwave in bringing in the feature has brightened up Mondays in Crosswordland no end and introduced us to a number of new setters who undoubtedly have a bright future.
This week we welcome another new setter. Snape has produced a very entertaining puzzle with a good mixture of clue types and some fine surfaces. It raised several titters which made it all the more enjoyable. My main suggestion is that he should be a bit more rigorous in making the definition match the answer in a grammatical sense – you should be able to replace the definition with the answer in a meaningful sentence.
9a Used to be head of humanities, but went back to be employed cleaning clothes (7)
WASHTUB – string together a verb meaning ‘used to be’, the head letter of humanities and the reversal (went back) of BUT. The definition here (employed …) is a verb form but the answer is a noun.
10a Inherit realm held by African country (7)
ERITREA – hidden in the clue. It should be the other way round – the African country is held by ‘inherit realm’.
11a A more bogus broadcast? No sound reason (7)
APHONIA – A (from the clue) followed by what sounds like phonier (more bogus). This is a medical term for the reason that someone is unable to speak.
12a Teaches about the problem with not writing a will (7)
ESCHEAT – an anagram (about) of TEACHES gives us property which reverts to the state if someone dies intestate.
13a Sometimes each anger-management course is significantly altered (3,6)
SEA CHANGE – hidden (some) in the clue. Some would object to the indicator and the first part of the hidden text being in the same word, but I think it’s fine. Again the definition (which is a sentence) doesn’t quite match the answer (which is a noun).
15a Wife has left second item for sale: a game of chance (5)
LOTTO – the second item in an auction would be LOT TWO. Drop the W(ife).
16a Duped badly, getting little thanks about being informed of the latest news (7)
UPDATED – an anagram (badly) of DUPED contains a small word of thanks reversed (about). I don’t think that ‘getting’ quite cuts the mustard as a containment indicator.
19a Announce you’re going to record a Christmas tradition (4,3)
YULE LOG – what sounds like “you’re going to” is followed by a written record.
20a Small firm breasts are held by this hooded beast (5)
COBRA – start with the abbreviation for a small company and add what some breasts are held or supported by. Superb!
21a Endlessly painful breast exposed? Get a grip! (4,2,3)
SORT IT OUT – an adjective meaning painful without its last letter is followed by ‘breast exposed’ or what’s known in polite circles as a wardrobe malfunction (3,3).
25a Flipping arcade game! (7)
PINBALL – cryptic definition of the type of arcade game which exercised one’s thumbs long before the arrival of texting.
26a Take back devotees of Figwit, for example (7)
SNAFFLE – as someone who tries to avoid anything to do with Tolkien I had to look up Figwit. Apparently it’s a made up acronym (standing for “Frodo Is Great… Who Is That?”) for an unknown elf extra in the Lord of The Rings film. Reverse (back) what devotees of such a creature (3,4) could be.
28a Den returns! The origins of Eastenders not totally apparent (7)
EVIDENT – den is cleverly placed first so that it can be capitalised and make you think of the Dirty One in Eastenders. Actually it’s a disreputable club or bar. Reverse that (returns) and follow it with the first letters (origins) of three words in the clue.
29a Badly angered, go insane (7)
DERANGE – an anagram (badly) of ANGERED. This verb means to make or drive (someone) insane rather than to go insane.
1d Andy Murray’s girlfriend will contain herself when married, but now uses foul language (6)
SWEARS – this is a topical clue though (not being a great fan of Mr Cheerful) I had to look up the name of his girlfriend (who was caught using foul language towards one of his opponents). Take her surname and insert what she will become (i.e. a W(ife)) when they are married. This is the second use of W(ife).
2d A maths problem leaves one short of breath (6)
ASTHMA – A (from the clue) followed by an anagram (problem) of MATHS. Again, the definition requires a verb but the answer is a noun. Just inserting ‘that’ between ‘problem’ and ‘leaves’ would make it work well.
3d Alien being shown where students go (4)
ETON – Spielberg’s alien is followed by an adverb meaning being shown (at a cinema, say).
4d To get drunk I bat on (6)
OBTAIN – an anagram (drunk) of I BAT ON.
5d Critically cut off cathedral city (8)
SEVERELY – a charade a verb to cut off and the name of a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire.
6d Said to choose a flower with relish (10)
PICCALILLI – this sounds like (said) a phrase to choose a specific type of flower. I don’t like ‘with’ as a link word.
7d Poor relation of China, say (8)
ORIENTAL – an anagram (poor) of RELATION.
8d Vocal chords? (8)
PARTSONG – cryptic definition of an unaccompanied song with parts in harmony. The clue really relies for its cryptic quality on a pun, in that it sounds like vocal cords.
14d Pop charts originally always declared every Sunday after standard was achieved (3,7)
HIT PARADES – a bit of nostalgia here, looking back to the weekly charts presented by Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman on Sunday afternoons in the 1960s. The first letters (originally) of four words in the clue follow a phrase meaning standard was achieved or achieved standard (3,3). ‘Origins’ has already been used to select first letters (in 28a) so a different word would have been better here.
16d Never having been picked to play Bruce Wayne, perhaps, take the lead of Parker (8)
UNCAPPED – I don’t think that this really works because you have to use the definition as part of the wordplay. An actor who’s never been chosen to play the Caped Crusader could be described as UNCAPED and that goes round (take) the leading letter of P(arker) (Peter Parker aka Spiderman).
17d Socialite broadcasting with charm (8)
DEBONAIR – a young socialite of the type who used to ‘come out’ (but not in the 21a sense!) is followed by a phrase meaning broadcasting (2,3).
18d Balls up! Not nearly on time. Gutted (8)
DESOLATE – the wordplay is clever and misdirects – at first I thought the last two letters came from ‘time’ without the middle (gutted), but that’s not the case. Start with the reversal (up) of the forename of the shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and add a phrase (2,4) meaning not nearly on time.
22d Belong, if somehow removed from comfortable place at home (6)
RESIDE – remove the IF (but with letters not in that order, hence the ‘somehow’) from a word for a comfortable and warm place in the house.
23d A bad shove ha’penny shot may cause upset (6)
OFFEND – a shot that’s hit way too hard means that your ha’penny shoots past the scoring areas on the board and goes … (3,3). The wordplay really needs a verb such as ‘go’, e.g. ‘Where a bad shove ha’penny shot may go to cause upset’.
24d Holiday destination based around sandcastles, for example (6)
THEMED – split the answer (3,3) to get a popular holiday destination.
27d Sacred heart remains here in Israel (4)
ACRE – a city in northern Israel where there are many historic remains has its name at the heart of sacred.
The ones which I liked best were 20a, 21a and 18d. Thanks, Snape – I’m looking forward to your next puzzle.