A Puzzle by Metman
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week we have Metman, another new setter, presenting his debut puzzle. 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 on board to Metman. I found this relatively straightforward but there were a few obscure definitions that could have been simplified for the convenience of solvers. Most of the issues have been raised in comments on the crossword as well as the good points – of which there were many.
6 Dan went to the church hop (5)
DANCE – The DAN from the clue followed by the abbreviation for Church of England. This could have been improved by providing a synonym for Dan such as Desperate man or Expert.
7 Finished novel but what you did to have too many bodies? (8)
OVERBOOK – A four letter word meaning finished followed by another word for a novel. The clue would suggest that that answer is in the past tense “what you did…” so “but what you do to have…” might have been better. Even then, the link word “but” does not sit will as wordplay but definition.
10 OK, a rake is moved to get some backing (7)
KARAOKE – An anagram (is moved) of OK A RAKE.
11 Go on gal about days of yore (4-3)
LONG-AGO – An anagram (about) of GO ON GAL. Three anagrams in a row reduces the feeling of variety and pace in the puzzle and should be avoided if possible.
12 Sir Dave is confused though has wise words to offer (7)
ADVISER – An anagram (is confused) of SIR DAVE. Perhaps “he has wise words to offer” would better fit the definition. Also the link word could be better as wordplay though definition does not sit very well.
13 ……but this one came up with the cash (7)
SPONSOR – A person who acts as the answer to 12 across and provides money for a project. As has been noted, it looks as though the ellipses from the end of the previous clue have been added to this one.
14 Employs husbandry concerning origin and sounds replete (11)
RESOURCEFUL – A two letter abbreviation meaning concerning or about followed by another word for origin and a homophone (sounds) of FULL (replete). The definition suggests that the answer is a verb but the answer is an adjective.
19 Did She leave this writer looking so? (7)
HAGGARD – The author of the novel “She” is also a word meaning looking tired and dishevelled. The “She” could have been put at the front of the sentence to disguise the capital letter.
21 Sick testament radiates malice (3,4)
ILL WILL – A word meaning sick followed by another word for a testament left by the deceased. I am not sure about the radiates in this one as it is hardly a link word and as part of the definition would suggest a verbal answer.
23 Groused about Haitian bread (7)
GOURDES – An anagram (about) of GROUSED for the currency of Haiti.
25 Is this where you keep your clothes for the car? (7)
GEARBOX – A cryptic definition of part of the car that sounds as though it may be where clothes are stored. “In the car” might have been better although in general (as a personal preference more than a rule), I don’t like the use of expressions such as “in X” to provide a definition of part of X or a place in X (see the next clue). Perhaps “Part of the car that may be used to store clothes!”
26 Press into service in China (8)
SHANGHAI – A word meaning to press into service is the name of a city and port in China.
27 What’s the point of this place? (5)
LOCUS – The central point or focus or a place.
1 An open grave reveals a needle man (8)
ENGRAVER – The answer is hidden in OPEN GRAVE REVEALS. There is no hidden word indicator in this clue. Although reveals could be a hidden word indicator, it is part of the hidden word letters so would be doing double duty. Perhaps “Contents of open grave reveal a needle man”
2 US oven switches concerning vessels (6)
VENOUS – An anagram (switches) of US OVEN.
3 Front of landscape? (10)
FOREGROUND – Not sure that there is anything cryptic here. A straight definition of the part of the landscape nearest the viewer.
4 Vile changes to screen (4)
VEIL – An anagram (changes) of VILE.
5 Pom or alsatian have standards (6)
MORALS – The answer is hidden in POM OR ALSATIAN. Strictly, the cryptic grammar should be A or B has answer.
6 This order will be executed, or you might be! (6)
DIKTAT – The order of a dictator that could result in death for those who don’t obey it.
8 Bed was ripe to take a sickie (4,3)
BUNK OFF – A word for a bed followed by a word meaning ripe (in the sense of rotten or smelly).
9 I hear you drilled for the directors (5)
BOARD – A homophone (I hear) of BORED (you drilled). The “you” is slightly superfluous. “Reportedly drilled for the directors” would work equally well.
13 A shoat is a drain on its mother (7,3)
SUCKING PIG – A young porcine animal that drains (sucking) its mother’s milk.
15 No good standing for this locum (5-2)
STAND-IN – Remove the final G (no good) from standing. As the whole answer is in the clue, this is not the best of clues. Maybe “Reputation’s no good for locum”.
16 Casual ring around to place a bet on a horse (4-4)
LAID-BACK – Reverse (around) DIAL (ring) followed by another word meaning to place a bet on a horse.
17 Express sadness re your sartorius etc, with a lisp (5)
THIGH – How you might lisp the word sigh (express regret). This clue does not work for me as the definition is in the middle of the clue and the final wordplay element is too far from the word to be lisped.
18 A bundle of nerves (6)
PLEXUS – A straight definition that sound as though it means something different.
20 This S. American has a neat job (6)
GAUCHO – A cryptic reference to South American cattle ranchers.
22 ‘ell, one is competent and responsible (6)
LIABLE – The letter phonetically represented by ‘ell followed by the letter representing one and a word meaning competent.
24 Calypso house has lively area (4)
SOHO – The answer is hidden in (has) CALYPSO HOUSE.