Couplet by Cyborg
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Cyborg returns to Rookie Corner for the second time. 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.
After Cyborg’s first crossword with pairs of links clues that included only with minor variations, Cyborg goes one better with this crossword with identical clues that each have two different solutions depending on the way in which the clue is read. This is very difficult to achieve and they were, in terms of the construction of the clues, the only weak points in the crossword as the surface readings and some of the grammar suffered in the process. However, it is perhaps inevitable that this will happen when setting linked clues of this nature. The remaining cluing continued the high standard from the debut crossword.
1 Creature with odd stripes taking a number, first joining moderate (8)
CENTRIST – The odd letters (with odd stripes) includes the abbreviation for any number followed by the abbreviated form of first. As this is one of the couplet clues, the surface reading here has been sacrificed to the need to have two sets of cryptic readings. I think that odd stripes works as an instruction to take alternate letters though stripes usually indicates bands of colour.
7 Unravel crossword containing two-part coupling (6)
VELCRO – The answer is hidden in (containing) UNRAVEL CROSSWORD.
8 Cracked Easter egg for 26? (9)
SEGREGATE – … another word meaning the answer to 26a. An anagram (cracked) of EASTER EGG.
9 Party with only draught and bottled beer? Impossible! (2,3,2)
NO CAN DO – A cryptic reference to a party at which beer in tins is not are available.
11 Botched raid right before operation to send down supplies (3-4)
AIR-DROP – An anagram (botched) of RAID followed by the abbreviations for right and operation.
12 Clumsy to write backwards in it (5)
INEPT – Reverse (backwards) a word meaning to write inside the it from the clue.
13 Wear casual clothes to lecture (5,4)
DRESS DOWN – A double definition, the second in as an admonition.
15 Drink and eat badly (3)
TEA – An anagram (badly) of EAT.
17 Tool bar will lose elements regularly (3)
AWL – The even letters (lose elements regularly) of bAr WiLl.
18 Broken in mule holds key light up (9)
LUMINECE – An anagram (broken) of IN MULE includes (holds) the name of one of the key on a computer keyboard.
19 Passageway is swamped by drink (5)
AISLE – The IS from the clue has the name of a drink around it (swamped by).
21 Coffee substitute trendy at first or trendy at last (7)
CHICORY – A four letter word meaning trendy followed by the OR from the clue and the final letter (at last) of trendy.
23 Short mystic offended with cultured food (7)
YOGHURT – Another word for a mystic with the final letter removed (short) followed by a word meaning offended, as in upset.
24 Adjust to surroundings, losing a little time in east gallery (9)
ORIENTATE – Another word for the east and the name of an art gallery has one of the Ts removed (losing a little time).
25 Not cricket if a run is disrupted (6)
UNFAIR – An anagram (disrupted) of IF A RUN.
26 Ready a needed border to hold store (3,5)
SET ASIDE – Another word meaning ready followed by the A from the clue and a word for a border or edge or something. I am not sure that needed works as a charade indicator here.
1 Ready a needed border to hold store (4-3-5)
CASH-AND-CARRY – Another word for ready or money (although you can have ready money, on its own it is usually readies) followed by the A from the clue and the outer letters (border – for this to work, it should be borders) and another word meaning to hold.
2 Regain standing when skipping a country (5)
NIGER – Remove the A (skipping) from REGAIN and reverse (standing) the remaining letters.
3 Inaccurate sage sorry over lost fodder crop (8)
RYE GRASS – Remove the abbreviation for over from SAGE SORRY and make an anagram (inaccurate) of the letters that remain. The more usual enumeration here is 3,5 not 8.
4 One saves postage returning rubbish instrument with cheap wrappers and coverings (5,9)
STAMP COLLECTOR – A three letter word for rubbish followed by the name of a musical instrument, the outer letters (wrappers) of cheap and another word for floor coverings and reverse the whole lot (returning).
5 Anthropomorphic lichen has wearied expression (6)
LICHEN – The answer is hidden in (has) ANTHROPOMORPHIC LICHEN. Not the best of surface readings here.
6 Ten brutes rampaging – they’re 25? (9)
BRUNETTES – … someone whose hair is not fair. An anagram (rampaging) of TEN BRUTES.
7 Snack seller, against closing mine, starts to ask contract help in (7,7)
VENDING MACHINE – A one letter word meaning against followed by a word meaning closing or finishing and the “mine” from the clue inside which you add the initial letters (starts to) of Ask Contract Help.
10 Foxy lace style one initially trimmed with gas cutting rig? (12)
OXYACETYLENE – Remove the initial letters (trimmed) from the first four words in the clue. I am not sure that the word for the gas is used to describe the equipment that uses it unless followed by the word torch.
14 Growing grain is tricky in uprooted glen (9)
ENLARGING – An anagram (is tricky) of GRAIN inside an anagram (uprooted) of GLEN.
16 Gain is in awkward patch (8)
INSIGNIA – An anagram (awkward) of GAIN IS IN.
20 Cry as short storm absorbs energy (6)
SQUEAL – Another word for a windy storm with the final letter removed (short) inside which you add (absorbs) the abbreviation for energy.
22 Creature with odd stripes taking a number, first joining moderate (5)
OKAPI – Another word meaning moderate goes first followed by (joining) the A from the clue and the number representing the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.