A Puzzle by Hasslethymi
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week we have another puzzle from Hasslethymi. 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.
Prolixic has prepared a document entitled “A brief guide to the construction of cryptic crossword clues” which can be downloaded, in pdf format, from the Rookie Corner index page or by clicking below.
A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
Hassletheymi returns with another accomplished crossword, his fourth, which continues to show his promise as a setter. Comments on the clues are set out below.
One thing that is encouraging is the way in which comments on the blog, largely by other Rookies but also by others, are beginning to analyse the clues and the grid and offer their thoughts on the wordplay. This is a healthy development and shows how well the Rookie Corner is developing as we all learn together. I may, from time to time, comment on the comments but remember that my view on a clue may be one among many. I will try to indicate where views differ and where I am expressing a personal preference.
Comments have being made on the triple and double unches (consecutive squares in the grid where the letter does not intersect with another answer). Triple unches are almost never seen in grids published in the national papers. Double unches are frequently seen, even at the start of words although I believe that the Times grids prohibit the use of double unches at the beginning of a word.
1 Spooner’s sweet guy standing just in front of the sofa? (6,5)
COFFEE TABLE – Swap the initial letters (Spooner’s) of toffee (sweet) cable (guy or rope). Spoonerisms are a clue type that divide solvers but are a perfectly valid word of wordplay for setters to use. Perhaps two in the grid was over enthusiastic. One of the problems with Spoonerism type clues is that there are very few ways to clue them. Here, perhaps, you could have had “Sweet guy exchanging introductions standing just in front of the sofa”. This would avoid the (sometimes unjustly levelled charge) that the Reverend Spooner would never have said that.
7 Fool is clearly grossly evasive at heart (3)
ASS – The central letters (at heart) of cleArly groSsly evaSive. I think that the singular at heart works here. At hearts would not work and I think that the at heart can fairly relate to all three words in the clue.
9 Roughly chopped celeriac with useless part discarded (5)
CIRCA – An anagram (chopped) of CELERIAC after removing the ELE (useless part discarded). Useless part may be too imprecise. As others have pointed out, useless core would have been better.
10 Regulate power (9)
INFLUENCE – Double definition. If the first is regulate as in to control, then the two meanings are closely connected as in order to regulate, you have to have the power to do so.
11 Musicians put together alternative cabinet in conjunction with artist (9)
ORCHESTRA – A word sum (put together) of a word that indicates an alternative, another word for a cabinet and the abbreviation for an artist.
12 Meal is essentially still unchanged (5)
LUNCH – The answer is hidden (essentially) in STILL UNCHANGED. Whilst words to indicate a hidden word such as at heart or centrally would require the exact central letters, my view is that essentially does not impose this constraint on the setter.
13 Eno’s Dr Awkward’s one for word play (10)
PALINDROME – “Eno’s Dr Awkward’s one” reads the same forwards and backwards as an example of this type of wordplay. Presumably the surface reading is to an imaginary musical piece by the composer Brian Eno so the surface reading makes some sense.
17 Key found after sailor’s discharge (10)
ABSOLUTION – The abbreviation for an able bodied seaman (sailor) followed by a word meaning key or something that gives the answer.
22 Remove gold from austere design and put back in place (5)
RESET – An anagram (design) of AUSTERE after removing the chemical symbol AU for gold. If design is being used as an imperative verb, it should be before the anagram letter. If it is being used as noun, not all editors would accept a nounal anagram indicator
23 Gary is doubly frustrated about second rate argument (4-5)
ARGY-BARGY – An anagram (frustrated) of GARY GARY (doubly) around the letter representing second-rate.
25 Astronaut’s covering area with diamonds, perhaps (9)
SPACESUIT – Another word for an area followed by what diamonds are an example of in a deck of cards.
26 Leave follow bronze dance (5)
TANGO – A two letter word meaning leave goes after (follow – this should have been following) another word meaning bronze (as in sitting out in the sun).
27 Biblical character‘s fate (3)
LOT – A double definition of the man whose wife was turned into a pillar of salt and another word for fate.
28 Signalling collapse for Spooner’s camping equipment (8,3)
SLEEPING BAG – Swap the initial letters (Spooner’s) of bleeping (signalling) sag (collapse).
1 Two firms working to get protective cover (6)
COCOON – The abbreviation for company twice (two firms) followed by a two letter word meaning working.
2 Ceramic supplied by Ali once, following dismissal (8)
FIRECLAY – The original surname of Mohammed Ali after (following) a word meaning to dismiss someone (I don’t think that dismissal is the right word here as this is a noun being used to clue a verb.)
3 Delete weird answer that’s oddly lacking (5)
ERASE – The even letters (oddly lacking) of wEiRdAnSwEr. The words oddly lacking can apply to two or more words in the clue but for the construction to work, you have mentally to remove the space between words (otherwise you are deleting the even letters in the second word) and it is perfectly acceptable to set the clue in this way. However, as this can be a source of confusion, it is probably better to ensure that you are removing the odd letters in both words without having to take the space into account in counting which letter are to be removed or having to close the words up.
4 Writhed like a pervert (7)
TWISTED – A double definition, the second defining the moral corruption of a pervert.
5 Polish with Austrian links originally with old New York city (7)
BUFFALO – A four letter word meaning polish followed by the first letters (originally) of Austrian and links and the abbreviation for old.
6 Let nubile eccentric be in high spirits (9)
EBULLIENT – An anagram (eccentric) of LET NUBILE.
7 Arrival of the first light cannot begin to provide shelter (6)
AWNING – Remove the first letter (cannot begin) from a word meaning the arrival of first light.
8 Guard the Lord? (8)
SHEPHERD – A double definition, the second being a reference to the description of the Lord in Psalm 23.
14 Lack of suitability as tenpins tumble (9)
INAPTNESS – An anagram (tumble) of AS TENPINS.
15 Sheila, sir, perhaps partially brought about retaliation (8)
REPRISAL – The answer is hidden (partially) and reversed (brought about) in SHEILA SIR PERHAPS
16 Handle raising hit crucifix (8)
DOORKNOB – Reverse (raising) bonk (hit) and rood (crucifix).
18 Standing as utter nonsense (7)
STATURE – An anagram (nonsense) of AS UTTER. As a noun, nonsense would not find favour with all editors as an anagram indicator.
19 Frivolous at university, so start smoking (5,2)
LIGHT UP – A word meaning frivolous followed by a word meaning at university.
20 Lion taking time to be oblique (6)
ASLANT – The name of the lion in the “Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” followed by the abbreviation for time.
21 Tennis legend pursuing crazy case for bionic man (6)
CYBORG – The name of many time Wimbledon and world tennis champion from Sweden after (pursuing) the outer letters (case) of crazy.
24 Stick racket being performed (5)
BATON – Another word for a piece of sporting equipment followed by a word meaning being performed. I am not convinced that a bat is a synonym for the required word in the solution!