A Puzzle by Hippo
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have our latest new setter. Hippo has patiently waited for his turn, so I hope you all enjoy his 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 to Hippo, our newest setter. There were some good clues in this crossword (such as 13a, 16a, 17a, 19a, 7d, 8d, 18d) with an interesting theme. However, I found that some of the clues were imprecise to the point of making unnecessarily difficult and less enjoyable to solve. I managed to solve on an iPad but the intersecting clues mean that this is a crossword that is best solved on paper.
1 Thorburn versus White? (5,5)
CLIFF FACES – The first name of the snooker player Mr Thorburn followed by a word meaning versus. Versus is a preposition being used to clue a noun and I don’t think you could exchange the two in a sentence. The definition, if it is a noun does not match the answer and as an adjective is too tangential to fairly lead the solver to the answer.
7 26 of 3 that’s short of hands? (4)
PONY – A slang term for the amount of money represented by 26 of 3 also describes an animal which, when measured in hands, would be short. I liked the definition here as it is descriptive in a way that the definition in 1a wasn’t.
*9 Weighty 3? (4,1,3)
HALF A TON – A weight that the answer to 3 represents as a fraction of 100. The definition suggests that the answer is an adjective but the adjectival form would usually be 4-3 though I think you could say I would like a 4 1 3 bag of something.
*10 State before 3? (6)
HAWAII – The part of the USA that precedes 3 in the TV programme. Fortunately the checking letters precluded my entering Alaska as the 49th State!
11 Plain French one croaked we hear. (6)
UNDYED – The French masculine for one followed by a homophone (we hear ) of died (croaked). A minor point – full stops are not usually used at the end of clues.
12 Superfluous want in nude display. (8)
UNNEEDED – A word meaning want inside (in) an anagram (display) of NUDE. As a minor point, as a transitive verb, the anagram indicator should come before the letters to be rearranged.
13 Sneakily call about organising a lift. (8)
CRAFTILY – A three letter word meaning call goes about an anagram (organising) of A LIFT. One of the best clues in the crossword with a meaningful surface reading, good structure and well defined answer.
16 Place for a hot pot plant? (6)
TRIVET – An item in the kitchen where you would put (plant) a hot cooking pot.
17 Shocked at receiving an indecent shag. (6)
AGHAST – The AT from the clue includes an anagram (indecent) of SHAG. You could remove the AN from the clue and it would work just as well, if not better.
19 Exotic spread or oil used to improve reception? (8)
EARDROPS – An anagram (exotic) of SPREAD OR.
21 Short term worry for memory. (8)
ANGSTROM – A five letter word for worry followed by the abbreviation for read only memory. I don’t think that the definition works here. If the answer is a term for short, the answer should be an adjective but is a noun. If the definition is “short term”, it does not define the answer.
22 Throw out 23 leader for being hasty. (6)
FLYING – A five letter word meaning throw goes around the first letter (leader) of the answer to 23. I am not enamoured with out as an indicator to mean that the letters go outside.
24 Call for no gore capturing clean sheep, a lot more than 3 (we hope). (3,3)
OLD AGE – A call used in bullfighting (I cannot immediate find a reference to it meaning no gore) around (capturing) a word which means to cut of dirt-clotted tufts of wool from a sheep.
25 Plant sucker with speed, old city copper gets glory, not half! (8)
SURCULUS – An abbreviation for speed (the abbreviation is not given in Chambers or Collin’s on-line dictionary) followed by the name of a biblical city, the chemical symbol for copper and half of lustre (glory).
*26/5 3, 9 or 1950? (4,7)
HALF CENTURY – A triple definition, 1950 being the midway point in a period of 100 years.
27 English jolly is a bad night for French tout. (10)
EVERYTHING – The abbreviation for English followed by a four letter word meaning jolly and an anagram (bad) of NIGHT. The “is” in the clue is misleading and unnecessary. “English jolly has night out with French tout” would have worked more precisely.
*2 3 if provisional. (7)
LEARNER – The Latin numeral for the answer to 3d gives a word meaning provisional when expanded to another meaning as in a provisional licence or driver.
3 10 and 22d. (5)
FIFTY – Add 10 to the answer to 22d.
4 Rank of US lawman apprehending part timer. (5)
FETID – The abbreviation for a US lawman includes (apprehending) the first two letters (part) of timer. Many crossword editors will not allow part to indicate the selection of an unknown number of letters from a word.
5 See 26 Across.
6 Most of the prince’s problem with management of passing on the throne? (9)
SPHINCTER – An anagram (problem) of TH PRINCES. A very loose but cheeky definition as the answer is part of the body and does not really manage the act of going to the toilet.
7 Faculty taking an easy ride gives finer grade. (9)
POWDERIER – An anagram (easy) of RIDE inside an word for faculty or ability.
8 Innocence of Ivan abroad for summer in France. (7)
NAIVETE – An anagram (abroad) of IVAN followed by the French for summer.
14 Identifies Welsh flower for display of colour? (9)
FLAGSTAFF – A five letter word meaning identified followed by the name of a Welsh river (flower).
15 Hamper with terrine made without iron. (9)
INTEREFERE – An anagram (made) of TERRINE outside (without) the chemical symbol for iron.
18 The articulated more awkward are bundles of nerves. (7)
GANGLIA – A homophone (articulated) of ganglier (more awkward).
19 Wholesale seems an option. (2,5)
EN MASSE – An anagram (option) of SEEMS AN. Option as a noun would not be accepted by some editors as an anagram indicator. I wonder whether option implies any sort of rearrangement of the letters?
20 Shut up one in Winchester, certainly no high flier. (7)
PENGUIN – A three letter word meaning shut up followed by the letter representing one inside a type of weapon of which Winchester is an example, though as a definition by example, ideally this should be indicated.
22 Winks in order of getting a little appreciation. (5)
FORTY – The word that goes before winks as in sleep (there is no indication that this is what is required) from a word meaning in order of followed by TY (though how you get little appreciation to TY is only (according to Big Dave) by it being an unsupported abbreviation for thank you).
23 One in the minority announced why they lost power and most of hope. (5)
YOUTH – The letter that is a homophone (announced) of why followed by a word meaning lost power (the “they” is superfluous) and the first letter of hope. As most of hope cannot indicate the first letter, I am assuming that the the “lost” is doing double duty as part of lost power and lost most of the letters in hope.