A Puzzle by Moonlapse
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
This week we have a second puzzle from Moonlapse. 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 back to Moonlapse with his second crossword. This one avoided many of the obscurities in the solutions that the first one contained but in one or two places perhaps went a little too far in its efforts to deceive the solver or, in the case of 5d, a mile or two over the line! What I find interesting in this crossword is that there are only a small number of clues where there are serious issues but they tend to cast a larger shadow over the remaining clues and reduce the enjoyment of the whole.
1 A calm cur has been barking, claims farmer (9,6)
AMBULANCE CHASER – An anagram (barking) of A CALM CUR HAS BEEN. An excellent clue to begin with with a well disguised definition to a well indicated anagram and a plausible surface reading.
9 Meditation in nuthouse rightly exposed (7)
THOUGHT – The inner letters (exposed) of NUTHOUSE RIGHTLY
10 Ostentatious swagger of party on Spanish coast (7)
BRAVADO – The name of part of the Spanish coastline – Costa ***** followed by a two letter word for a party. Perhaps Spanish coast might more correctly indicate “costa”. Maybe “Spanish costal area” might have been better.
11 Slough welcomes soldiers – ten contracted? (9)
SHORTENED – A four letter word meaning slough or cast off includes (welcomes) the abbreviation for Other Ranks (soldiers) and the TEN from the clue. Better than the original clue given the sensitivity over the Middle East.
12 Sneak shackled by villainous idlers (5)
SIDLE – The answer is hidden (shackled by) VILLAINOUS IDLERS.
13 A side’s the same on the other side? (4)
AXIS – The A from the clue followed by the Roman numerals for 11 (side) with and S (from the ‘s). I am not sure that the definition matches the answer. Perhaps “A side’s possibly reflected about this”
14 E.g. diamond Sara returned, finding Italian dishes (10)
CARBONARAS – The chemical element of which diamond is a form or example followed by a reversal (returned) of the SARA in the clue. The answer is the name of the sauce but may be applied loosely to the names of dishes.
18 Connoisseur of stars imprisoned by subterranean guard (10)
GASTRONOME – A prefix meaning “of stars” inside a fairytale creature who might be a subterranean guard or a garden ornament!
19 A side’s half a continent (4)
ASIA – The A from the clue followed by half of the word side and the final a from the clue.
21 Former volunteers and politicians in packs (5)
TAMPS – The abbreviation for the former Territorial Army followed by the abbreviation (in the plural) for members of parliament.
23 Humbled Edward, known for his modesty? (9)
CHASTENED – Split 6, 3 this implied a modest man called Edward. The root of the wordplay and the definition are somewhat similar and a greater separation between them would improve the clue.
24 Embellishment: a roll perhaps (7)
ROULADE – A double definition, the first being a musical embellishment.
25 Night of free choice? (7)
TWELFTH – From Shakespeare’s play whose sub-title is “What you will” or the ******* Night.
27 Foolish to have us prefects harassed insolently (15)
DISRESPECTFULLY – A five letter word meaning foolish includes (to have) an anagram (harassed) of US PREFECTS.
1 Appropriate subject (3)
APT – A double definition. If the subject referred to is “games” or another word for “PE” then the clue does not work as there is no wordplay for the initial A in the answer.
2 Ecology‘s brief history, unamplified? (9)
BIONOMICS – A shortened form of biography (history) followed by a shortened form of “no microphones” (unamplified).
3 Slurred Got ale? drunkenly (6)
LEGATO – An anagram (drunkenly) of GOT ALE. Chambers gives one definition for the solution legato.
4 Out and proud, with some success at least (3,2,4)
NOT IN VAIN – The opposite of out followed by a word meaning proud. Perhaps some indication that you need the opposite of out would be fairer to the solver. Presumably out and proud… would do this.
5 Like a rag man, could be mayhem, bedlam! (5)
EMBED – The least said about this clue the better! The undefined answer is hidden in MAYHEM BEDLAM but with no hidden word indicator. The “a rag man” being an anagram of anagram does not help but greatly hinders.
6 Cooling device a celaphopod might find unsatisfactory? (4-4)
HEAT-SINK – Split 5,3 and of the cephalopods that produce ink as a defensive mechanism would find this unsatisfactory. The typo in cephalopod did not help solvers here.
7 Burn received from hag’s cauldron (5)
SCALD – The answer is a homophone (received) of letters inside (from) HAGS CAULDRON. I can see how this works but the clue looks like it contains an error as the word could have been inside hags caldron. Also I am not keen on taking homophone from groups of letters that are not words in their own right but this is more of a personal preference.
8 State Street I secure for the lying state? (5,6)
RHODE ISLAND – A homophone (state) of Road (street) I Land (secure). The lying state indicates that the state is not really what it claims to be though I see from comments that it originally was!
11 Dotty elders will drink anything to get blotto (11)
SLAUGHTERED – A five letter word meaning anything inside an anagram (dotty) of ELDERS.
15 Pompous jerk drove up scholars first (9)
BOMBASTIC – Reverse (up) a word meaning drove followed the plural abbreviation for scholars and a word meaning a jerk or twitch.
16 Soothing cask of Ensign bitter (9)
RESENTFUL – A word meaning soothing around the outer letters (cask) of Ensign. I don’t think that the wordplay really works here is cask appears to be doing double duty to get the outer letter of ensign and as a containment indicator as en does not appear as an abbreviation for ensign.
17 Death of familiar Queen guitarist seen in city (8)
BRISBANE – Split 3’1 4, this may imply Bri[an] (May) (Queen guitarist) is dead.
20 Provided sandwiches in case rises in usual state (6)
ITSELF – A word meaning provided includes (sandwiches) a reversal (rises) of a word meaning in case.
22 Hammers savages found in shopping centres, understandably (5)
MAULS – A homophone (understandably) of malls (shopping centres). I don’t think that the savages here adds much. Hammers savagely would be better but the clue would work just as well without it.
23 Tawdry appearance of the man in Balmoral (5)
CHEAP – A two letter word for the man inside an item of clothing of which Balmoral is an example. The use of a question mark to indicate that Balmoral is a definition by example would be helpful to solvers here.
26 Product of radiance and opportunism (3)
HAY – This is made whilst the sun shines according to the proverb extolling opportunism.