A Puzzle by Barfly
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Barfly handed this puzzle around at the recent Birmingham meeting – is that a hint? 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.
An excellent debut puzzle from Barfly. This was a tough challenge with plenty of thoughtful and well-crafted clues with only a handful of minor points to highlight. This crossword was produced for a Sloggers and Betters meeting in Birmingham and the letters around the edge of the crossword read “Has anyone seen Brummie yet”. Brummie is a Guardian and Private Eye setter.
As a general rule, the convention is to omit full stops at the end of the clue.
8 Protective cover arse backwards. (4)
TARP – Reverse (backwards) another word for a foolish person (who might be described as an arse). The answer is a shortened form of tarpaulin.
9 Grabbed by an outspoken bird at party I will show weakness. (10)
PECCADILLO – The abbreviated form of I will goes inside (grabbed by) a homophone (outspoken) of a word for a bird that taps on tree trunks with its beak and a two letter word for a party. Grammatically, this clue breaks down into wordplay show definition where strictly the grammatical construction would be shows definition but this would not fit the surface reading. My preference for homophones is for the letters produced by the homophone to be a word in their own right but this is a self-imposed discipline and is not convention.
10 Decadent fellow in base celebration. (6)
EFFETE – The abbreviation for fellow goes inside an irrational number that is used as the base for natural logarithms and another word for a celebration.
11 Amidst Flodden chaos, English embraced. (8)
ENFOLDED – The abbreviation for English goes inside (amidst) an anagram (chaos) of FLODDEN. Some editors would not allow “chaos”, a noun, to act as an anagram indicator.
12 To date, one allegedly found very high up. (4)
YETI – Another word that could stand in the place of to date, as in “it has not happened to date”, followed by the Roman numeral for one.
13 Irritates actor for no reason. (10)
NEEDLESSLY – A seven letter word meaning irritates followed by the diminutive name by which the actor Sylvester Stallone is sometime known. Although not wrong of itself, given the endless list of actors and no indication of first or last name, etc, it might have been a courtesy to the solver to let them know that a nickname was required.
17 Being in the heart of the ship (4)
ESSE – The inner letters (in the heart of the) of a six letter word for a ship or other form of container.
18 Outstanding success in comeback attempt. (5)
OWING – Another word for a success or victory goes inside a reversal (comeback) of a word meaning attempt or try. As an adjective, the word comeback, as in the comeback kid, works as a reversal indicator.
19 Indian losing heart shows sign of disappointment. (4)
SIGH – Remove the central letter (losing heart) from a common Indian surname. Having used heart as a middle letter indicator in 17a, another indicator should ideally have been used here.
20 Accusation arising from interest circulating staff of Chambers amongst others. (10)
INDICTMENT – A three letter abbreviation for interest goes around (circulating) an abbreviation of dictionary and men (staff of Chambers and others).
22 Key for Bill and Mark‘s flat perhaps. (4)
NOTE – A quadruple definition.
23 Elaborate lights distract horseman. (8)
MENORAHS – An anagram (distract) of HORSEMEN.
27 Liz and I are becoming closer. (6)
MEANER – A two letter pronoun that would replace the setter (I) followed by a slang way of saying “and” and the abbreviation for the queen (Liz). It seems to me that the word order is wrong here as the word for the setter goes first in the answer and, that without further indication, you cannot expect the solver to get the slang way of “and”.
28 Evergreens produced by sound engineer with top backing singer’s intro added (10)
MACADAMIAS – A homophone (sound) of the surname of the engineer who gave us tarmac (his name does not have the first A that is used as the name of the product) followed by a reversal (backing) of A1 (top) and the first letter (intro) of singer.
29 Hears expression of surprise from the heart. (4)
CORE – A homophone (hears) of an ejaculation used when expressing surprise. The from here is out of place as it give wordplay from definition which is back to front.
1 Hardy’s response when offered a drink in the hold. (4,6)
HALF NELSON – How Hardy might have responded to a request from his naval captain for how much beer he wanted.
2 Enthusiasm of primate holding dear young child. (8)
APPETITE – A three letter word for a primate (the animal not the bishop) holds another word for dear (as in cherished) and a two letter word for a young child.
3 Fern is escorted around place with nothing right. (10)
SPLEENWORT – Another word for escorted (as in he was escorted/**** off the premises) goes around the abbreviation for place and this is followed by the abbreviation for with, the letter representing nothing and a two letter abbreviation for right.
4 Long-suffering – check into hospital dept. (4)
ACHE – The abbreviation for check (in chess) goes inside a two letter abbreviation for Accident and Emergency. Strictly, the abbreviation is A&E, not AE though this is sometimes ignored by setters – see last Friday’s Toughie. I don’t think that long-suffering (as adjective meaning enduring patiently) is a valid definition for a noun meaning a pain or a verb meaning to long for.
5 Vulgar supporter jumps up loudly. (4)
NAFF – Reverse (jumps up) another word for a supporter or enthusiast and follow this with the musical abbreviation for loudly.
6 Delivers products. (6)
YIELDS – A double definition for returns made or delivered on an investment and the fruits of the harvest.
7 Talented sportsman on the right wing. (4)
BLUE – A double definition of an Oxbridge sportsman or woman who represents the university and the colour associated with the right-wing or Conservatives.
14 Available online – low-calorie cream. (5)
ELITE – The letter used for on-line and a word for low-calorie.
15 Make right on appeal before taking notes, that is. (10)
LEGITIMISE – Another word for “on” in cricketing terms followed by another word for sexual appeal, two musical notes (the same note but in the plural) inside the abbreviation for id est or that is.
16 Caught sight early with a long way to go. (5-5)
LIGHT YEARS – An anagram (caught) of SIGHT EARLY. I think that caught here is being used in the sense of entangled but this really means that something is surrounded by a line or rope, etc, not that the thing itself is mixed up.
19 Outlaw native ceremony. (3,5)
SUN DANCE – Split into 3,5, the name of a Wild West outlaw associated with Butch Cassidy. I think that some indication that you need to split the name of the outlaw would be fairer here. Also, as the outlaw is the **** kid, is it fair only to take the first word of his nickname for the clue?
21 Is pub empty? The pressure’s the same here. (6)
ISOBAR – The IS from the clue followed by another word for a pub includes an O (empty meaning having nothing in it).
24 Cheated brother but ‘e noticed apparently. (4)
ESAU – The E from the clue followed by a homophone (apparently) of noticed. Apparently is a word that describes how something is seen or seems, not how it is heard so I do not think it is a fair homophone indicator.
25 Horse of stellar ability. (4)
ARAB – The answer is hidden inside STELLAR ABILITY.
26 Hurries up the drive. (4)
SPIN – Reverse (up) a word meaning hurries. My preference would be to omit the “the” from the clue as this better fits the definition.