A Puzzle by Mitz
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week we have another puzzle from Rookie Regular Mitz. 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.
Thanks to Mitz for the crossword. As many of the comments have indicated, is some places it seemed as though this crossword was trying too hard to be difficult leading to a lot of obscurities and some clunky surface readings. Most of the wordplay itself was fine but the overall feeling was not as enjoyable as some of Mitz’s crosswords and it did not feel as polished as his previous one.
9 Igloo smashed about; Eskimo’s first opponents’ epoch (9)
OLIGOCENE – An anagram (smashed) of IGLOO followed by a one letter abbreviation for about (from the Latin circa), the first letter of Eskimo and opponents in bridge
10 Pull extra after giving and receiving pain all right (5)
SMOKE – An abbreviation for extra after a two letter abbreviation for sadomasochism and a two letter word meaning all right.
11 Quietly leaves mothballs for Santa’s little helpers (5)
ELVES – Remove a two letter abbreviation for quietly from a word meaning mothballs or suspends.
12 English and French said “head” without one leader (9)
EDITORIAL – The abbreviation for English followed by the French word meaning said and a word for a sexual practice also known has head around (without) the letter representing one. This clue would not be acceptable for the daily papers who can make the editors very moralistic in their choice of acceptable clues.
13 Someone of unusual intellect, queen takes the place of a maid? (7)
SERVANT – One of the A’s (the first) in savant (someone of unusual intellect) is replaced by an abbreviation for the current queen.
14 All entering into conjugal promise without a bad feeling (3,4)
ILL WILL – The promise used in wedding services (often incorrectly clued as I DO) includes the ALL from the clue after removing (without) the A.
17 Should express disgust, outwardly outraged and traumatised initially (5)
OUGHT – The first letters (initially) of Outraged and Traumatised go around (outwardly) a word used to express disgust.
19 What’s left of Aral Sea, hardly all right: evaporated (3)
ASH – Remove all but the first letters from Aral Sea Hardly (all right evaporated).
20 Drop Douglas, say, from first 1, only to be cast by true innocent (5)
STONE – Remove the type of tree of which Douglas is an example (say) from the first in the clue and follow this with the 1 from the clue spelled out.
21 Rich without German approval, Spanish ham viewed (7)
MONEYED – Remove (without) the German from yes from the Spanish word for ham and follow the letters that remain with a word meaning viewed. I think that need to know the Spanish for ham is probably a step of general knowledge too far.
22 Not a taxing place for the 21? (7)
ONSHORE – Given that the rich place their funds in overseas tax havens, the answer is where most rich people don’t pay their taxes – including many for whom the words “accounting principles” is a tautology.
24 Hear of new, infamous intern’s incomplete reference to “breather” (9)
PNEUMONIC – A homophone of the word new (which does not give a real word) followed by the name of the White House intern who got Bill Clinton’s cigar in a twist without the final letter of her name (incomplete).
26 Something precious father removed from torn apparel (5)
PEARL – Remove a two letter word meaning father from APPAREL and make an anagram (torn) of the letters that remain.
28 Give one star review – one star review! – Ron put out about 50… (5)
SLATE – Remove (put out) the letters in RON from ONE STAR and make an anagram of the letters that remain around the letter that represents 50 in Roman numerals.
29 …Shades (part five); a long way before Australian backs the French writer (5,4)
EMILE ZOLA – The fifth letter (part five) of shades followed by a distance that is a long way, a reversal of a two letter word for Australia and the French for the.
1 Went down badly? Good? Very, but not bloody coming round! (4)
DOVE – Remove a word meaning bloody from the letters in GOOD VERY and make an anagram (coming round) of the letters that remain. As the answer is a North American spelling, this should be indicated in the clue.
2 Headless nag found under ranger (6)
SILVER – The name of the Lone Ranger’s horse is the name of a metal whose symbol comes from the word nag with the first letter removed.
3 Swindles Brown with odd tally all the time (10)
CONSTANTLY – A word meaning swindles followed by a word meaning brown and the odd letters in tally.
4/22 Leave otherwise berated racing legend of a certain shade? (6,6)
DESERT ORCHID – A word meaning leave without permission followed by a two letter word meaning otherwise and a word meaning berated.
5 Was up to his tricks like Nick (8)
DEVILISH – Reverse (up) a word meaning was or existed and follow this by an anagram (tricks) of HIS.
6 When back to front, snakes in yoof’s badge of honour (4)
ASBO – Take a word for a constricting snakes and put the back half of the word in front of the first half. I am not convinced that back to front is specific enough to indicate taking one half of the word and putting it to the front.
7 One involuntary movement in game generally played by upper class member (8)
POLITICO – The letter represented by one followed by a word meaning involuntary movement inside a game on horseback played generally by upper class members.
8 See all, neither ending in tie (4)
SEAL – Remove the final letters from the first two words of the clue (neither ending).
13 Male Cockney’s desire rising in violence (5)
STORM – A two letter title for a man or male followed by a word meaning desire with the initial H removed (Cockney).
15 Endures happy poetry, evens out meal on Maundy Thursday? (4,6)
LAST SUPPER – A five letter word meaning endures followed by a two letter word meaning happy or elated and the odd letters (evens out) of poetry.
16 Old boss, say, taken in by story (5)
LIEGE – The Latin abbreviation for say or for example inside a word for a story or falsehood.
18 Muscle encountered by “Paul Simon” makes alloy (8)
GUNMETAL – Another word for a goon or muscle followed by a three letter word meaning encountered and the name Paul Simon said you could call him one of his songs. I think that the final part of the wordplay is too specialised as a general knowledge clue for this to be fair.
19 Moderately slow works in conjunction with advances (8)
ANDANTES – A word meaning in conjunction with followed by the types of advances or stakes used in card games.
22 See 4
23 Satirical Kazakh loses his head: gold offered by speaker (6)
ORATOR – Remove the first letter (loses his head) from the Sasha Baron Cohen character and follow this by a two letter word for gold. I am not convinced that wordplay offered by definition works.
24 Assistant’s time is over (4)
PAST – The abbreviation for personal assistant with the S from the ‘s in the clue followed by the abbreviation for time.
25 Image of Mike that is neutral (4)
MIEN – The letter in the Nato phonetic alphabet represented by mike, the abbreviation for that is followed by the abbreviation for neutral.
27 It’s dense but implicit in tangible advantage (4)
LEAD – The answer is hidden (implicit in) in TANGIBLE ADVANTAGE.
As Mitz pointed out there is a hidden theme in this crossword with 12 references to shades of grey.