A Puzzle by AKMild
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
AKMild is our latest setter to step up and offer his debut Rookie 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.
A review of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
Welcome to AK Mild with a gentle crossword but one that was well clued. Most of the issues have been aired already in the comments but I have highlighted the main ones. Whilst this was on the easy side, I have known easier crosswords on the back page of the Daily Telegraph in terms of solving times. The main points to look for are repeated wordplay indicators and polishing the surface readings of some of the clues.
1 Call for help about legal touts (8)
SOLICITS – The abbreviation for save our souls (call for help) around a word meaning legal.
5 Chinese dynasty and the French mix socially (6)
MINGLE – The name of a Chinese dynasty famed for its pottery followed by the French masculine form of the.
9 Odd – two degrees south gets cakes (3,5)
RUM BABAS – A word meaning odd followed by the abbreviation for Bachelor of Arts twice and the abbreviation for south.
10 Police trap about runner’s first tier (6)
STRING – … something used to tie. Another word for a police trap around the first letter of runner.
12 Back in Africa (Mali) a lad found spiritual leader (5,4)
DALAI LAMA – The answer is hidden and reversed (back in) in AFRICA MALI A LAD. Perhaps “finds” spiritual leader would be a better construction.
13 Bird close by – back around 5 (5)
RAVEN – Reverse (back) a word meaning close by around the Roman numeral for 5.
14 Couples lose first pair and become experts (4)
ACES – Remove the first two letter from a word meaning couples. The technically correct construction would be wordplay becomes definition but as the definition is plural this would require a change to “Couples lose first pair becoming experts”
16 That girl’s outfit, we hear, is somewhat hairy (7)
HIRSUTE – A homophone of HER (that girl’s) SUIT (outfit).
19 Former spouse mixes shale and puffs out (7)
EXHALES – A two letter abbreviation for a former spouse followed by an anagram (mixes) of SHALE.
21 Maintenance areas for stones (4)
PITS – A double definition, the first being the area where cars are maintained in races.
24 Steer clear of our big host when he’s up east (5)
EVADE – Reverse (when he’s up) the host of this blog and follow it with the abbreviation for East. Up as a reversal indicator should be reserved for down clues.
25 Old Ghana is Reverend’s chilly spectre, we hear (4,5)
GOLD COAST – A Spoonerism of Cold Ghost with the second relying on a homophone (we hear). A slightly stronger indication for a Spoonerism would be usual either by referring to Spooner or a tongue tied cleric or famous reverend.
27 Openings for insane, dumb, inane or totally silly asses (6)
IDIOTS – The initial letters (openings for) of the third to eighth words of the clue.
28 Runt toad could be Puccini princess (8)
TURANDOT – An anagram (could be) of RUNT TOAD.
29 Go back into tent for dairy product (6)
YOGURT – Reverse (back) the GO from the clue inside another word for a tent.
30 Try underground lab container (4,4)
TEST TUBE – Another word for try or examine followed by an informal word for the underground in London.
1 Site reindeer regularly – it’s a big step (6)
STRIDE – The odd letters (regularly) of SITE REINDEER.
2 Short leg, maybe, starts to praise Lillee’s yorkers in a weak kind of way (6)
LIMPLY – Remove the last letter (short) for another word for a leg, for example, and add the initial letters (starts to) Praise Lillee’s Yorkers.
3 Topless nanny, perhaps, in Channel Islands is related to the raccoon (5)
COATI – Remove the first letter (topless) from the name of an animal that has “nanny” as female form in put the letter inside the abbreviation for Channel Islands. I am not sure that “related to the racoon” on its own is the best definition. Perhaps “is one related to the raccoon”.
4 Bet 20 shuffle these sources of refreshment (3,4)
TEA BAGS – An anagram (shuffle) of BET and the answer to 20d. Where all of the letters required are contained in another answer, you will sometimes find a reference to the other answer as part of the letters to be rearranged. As the letters can be clearly found if you have the answer, this is acceptable. It becomes more debateable where the answer to another clue itself gives a clue to the letters to be rearranged and this strays into the indirect anagram territory.
6 Explain what to do with dead household animal – about right! (9)
INTERPRET – A five letter word meaning bury (what to do with dead) followed by generic name for animals kept in the house around the abbreviation for Right. This is the third use of about for a container and contents clue. Ideally, different indicators should be used. It is very easy to duplicate indicators as I discovered after my last NTSPP had been published where I discovered that I had used “without” twice as a deletion indicator.
7 Give sour concoction that’s atrocious (8)
GRIEVOUS – An anagram (concoction) of GIVE SOUR. Some editors will not allow anagram indicators that are nouns.
8 End green nonsense – bring it about! (8)
ENGENDER – An anagram (nonsense) of END GREEN.
11 US singer sometimes said to be king (4)
CASH – The surname of a US singer appears in the phrase X is king in monetary terms.
15 Pass over church reader for philatelist, maybe (9)
COLLECTOR – Another word for a mountain pass over a word for a church reader.
17 Star lacks British swiftness (8)
CELERITY – Remove the abbreviation for British from a word for a star or famous person.
18 Fleecing first suspect on trial (8)
SHEARING – The first letter of suspect on top of another word for a trial. Some editors will not allow first X on its own to indicate the initial letter. It would be acceptable to have “Suspect’s first trial for fleecing.
20 Talk up a long story (4)
SAGA – Reverse (up) a word meaning to talk and follow it with the A from the clue.
21 Harm the environment when the 13 writer holds up Jethro, perhaps (7)
POLLUTE – Reverse (up – again) the name of the surname of someone called Jethro, the perhaps being a definition by example indicator, inside (holds) the author of the answer to 13a.
22 Stable boy holds end of wagon and gold carriage (6)
LANDAU – The last letter (end of) wagon inside (holds – again) another word for a stable boy followed by the chemical symbol for gold.
23 Issue writ about rubbish representation of Liberty, perhaps (6)
STATUE – Another word for commencing legal proceedings around a three letter word meaning rubbish.
26 Daily time to plot (5)
CHART – A four letter word for a cleaner or daily followed by the abbreviation for time.