A Puzzle by Topdown
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
No, this is not another new setter! CW has asked that in the future his puzzles are published under the pseudonym Topdown. 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 updated his 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.
Welcome back to Topdown (the setter formerly known as CW). This was a gentle crossword and largely well clued and accessible. There were a few areas where the clues did not read very well as sentences in their own right or where the cryptic grammar was strained.
1 Fly set in flying set (6)
TSETSE – The first SET from the clue goes inside an anagram (flying) of the second SET.
5 Rotter (communist) trailing backward officer took place (8)
OCCURRED – A three letter word for a rotter or cad and another three letter word for a communist go after (trailing) a reversal (backward) of the abbreviation for a commanding officer.
9 Uneasily, guard for headless bird of prey guts lammergeiery (9)
AWKWARD – The first seven letters (if split 3,4) might describe a headless hark under guard. The final two letters are the outer letters (guts) of lammergeiery. There are several issues with the final indicator. Lammergeire is a bearded vulture but there the word in the clue is a made up adjective as far as I can see and setters should not make up words to fit the clues. The deletion indicator does not quite work. Gutting would be better or remove guts of… A reworking of the clue might be “Uneasily guard headless bird before Lory has its innards removed” would give a better clue.
10 Want directions to newspaper boss (4)
NEED – Two compass directions followed by the abbreviation for editor (newspaper boss).
11 Eastern Australia begins operating safari in places to keep animals (4)
ZOOS – A reversal (eastern) of the two letter word for Australia followed by the first letters (begins) of Operating Safari. As eastern can mean from the East, this is a valid reversal indicator. However, some editors would have an issue with “begins” as an initial letter indicator as you would need beginning to to give the clue grammatical sense. Perhaps a reworking of the clue could be “Eastern Austrialia starts to operate safaris in places to keep animals”.
13 Metal fork prong missing end (3)
TIN – Remove the last letter (missing end) from a word meaning the prong of a fork.
14 Greek character describes reserve force (5)
THETA – Split 3,2, the answer would read a description (with the definite article) of the volunteer army that we must now refer to the The Army Reserves.
15 Gloucestershire town street surprisingly dour (6)
STROUD – The abbreviation for street followed by an anagram (surprisingly) of DOUR.
16 Accountant officer picks up help for award (8)
ACCOLADE – A two letter abbreviation for an accountant followed by an abbreviation for colonel and a homophone (picked up) of AID (help). Chambers gives only ACC as an abbreviation for accountant, not AC, which would leave OL as the abbreviation for officer but there is no abbreviation as such in Chambers either.
18 Operate freight – this much needs doing (8)
WORKLOAD – A word meaning operate followed by another word for freight or cargo.
20 The state of inflamed tonsils of five siblings unknown (6)
QUINSY – Another word for five siblings born together and a letter used in algebra to represent an unknown.
21 Right – a religious African animal (5)
OKAPI – A two letter word meaning right or acceptable followed by the A from the clue and a two letter word used to describe someone who is religious.
23 Snake on empty airline (3)
BOA – Put an O (empty meaning having nothing in) inside the abbreviation for British Airways. The construction definition on wordplay does not work.
24 Bubbly second film… (4)
MOET – A two letter word for a second or jiffy followed by the most famous film in crossword land. As other have commented, the ellipsis here is not required.
25 Wine – six not out (4)
VINO – The Roman numerals for six followed by the abbreviation for not out.
26 Heretics when whipped taste soap (9)
APOSTATES – An anagram (whipped) of TASTE SOAP. The construction definition when wordplay does not quite work.
28 Lines back in a ship chap gets a dialect of Aramaic (8)
ASSRYIAN – The A from the clue, the abbreviation for steamship and a man’s name (chap) include a reversal (back) of the abbreviation for railway (lines). Although the wordplay is clear, the definition here is a little obscure.
29 Hush! It’s very loud inside carrier (6)
MUFFLE – The musical abbreviation for very loud goes inside another word for an animal carrier or a drug runner.
2 What are the odds on a health resort? (3)
SPA – The abbreviation for starting price (what are the odds) followed by the A from the clue.
3 Remove all cattle to make an assessment (4,5)
TAKE STOCK – A double definition of what cattle rustlers do and a phrase meaning to make an assessment.
4 Performed directions – role-played (7)
ENACTED – Two compass directions followed by a meaning role-played. As directions for the two letters concerned has already been used in 10a, a different indicator should be used here. The second part of the wordplay is very similar to the solution and a clearer separation between the two would be better.
5 Deviser of basic English in blog denial (5)
OGDEN – The answer is hidden in BLOG DENIAL.
6 This crossword, for example, is obscure in meaning (7)
CRYPTIC – A single definition displayed in two ways.
7 Called European mountains (5)
RANGE – A word meaning called followed by the abbreviation for European.
8 Rock the French hides is Ireland (7,4)
EMERALD ISLE – A type of rock or jewel followed by the IS from the clue inside (hides) the French masculine form of the.
12 Doctrines to be followed – alternatively I do hot sex wildly (11)
ORTHODOXIES – A two letter word meaning alternatively followed by an anagram (wildly) of I DO HOT SEX.
16 Singular set of papers help (3)
AID – An A (singular) followed by a word meaning a set of papers (or a singular piece of paper in some cases!).
17 In French the word surrounds it, maybe a theme (9)
LEITMOTIF – The French masculine form of the and the French for word go around (surround) the IT from the clue and this is followed by a word meaning maybe. I am not sure that maybe could be used replace “if”.
19 Soldiers above how an American serviceman could describe himself – rising paperwork (7)
ORIGAMI – A reversal (rising) of IM A GI (how an American serviceman could describe himself) and the abbreviation for Ordinary Ranks (soldiers).
20 Least possible amount – two pints, Cardinal replaces right with hesitation (7)
QUANTUM – A word for two pints with the R replaced by an N (Cardinal) followed by a two letter word used when expressing an hesitation. Perhaps requiring the solver to get from Cardinal to Number to N as the abbreviation for number is stretching it a bit.
22 Previously, American city hurt (5)
AGONY – A three letter word meaning previously followed by the abbreviation for New York.
23 Swedish chap came into this world around the beginning of July (5)
BJORN – The first letter (beginning of) July inside a word meaning came into the world. Came into the world would usually mean was born.
27 Star sold short (3)
SOL – Remove the final letter (short) from the middle letter in the clue.