A Puzzle by Fringilla
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Another debut puzzle, this time Fringilla is the one who is putting his head above the parapet. 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.
For a debut crossword, this was a good start. As comments on the blog have indicated there were a number of rough edges that need to be smoothed and the grid contains four answers with triple unches (three consecutive unchecked letters) which are rarely, if ever, seen in national papers. Whilst with simple clues and wordplay, they do not overly hinder solving the crossword, for new solvers and also with more complex clues, they can put the solver at a disadvantage.
There is a festive meal theme with the prospect of a kip in a chair afterwards.
1 Foe, we hear, is flower (7)
ANEMONE – A homophone (we hear) of AN ENEMY. The pronunciation of the flower requires the stress on the M with a softer N sound at the end though in common usage, it is incorrectly pronounced with an initial N sound with a softer M sound at the end. Also, it would also be usual to clue the article. Perhaps “A foe, we hear incorrectly, is flower” to make a virtue of the usual mispronunciation.
4 Chair greaser (6)
ROCKER – A double definition, the second being another word for follower of a particular musical genre.
7 i.e., lets Tom roughly kiss her under plant (9)
MISTLETOE – An anagram (roughly) of IE LETS TOM. Generously, I suppose you could allow the “kiss her under” to form part of an extended definition of the plant but they do come across mostly as padding in the clue.
8 Boy is halfway to holiday (5)
CHRIS – Half of the word for the season after advent. Actually, the boy is 5/9ths of the way to the holiday so perhaps “Boy just over halfway to holiday” would have been better.
10 Man in Canada video (5)
DAVID – The answer is hidden in CANADA VIDEO.
12 Gratis? Originally, but became a charge (3)
FEE – Remove a letter from a word meaning gratis. There is no instruction in the clue to delete a letter.
13 Gifted runners to start at front of fun run (5)
ELITE – I think that this is a double definition but the two meaning are very closely related.
14 Horse? That old joke! (8)
CHESTNUT – Double definition, the second being another word for a hackneyed joke.
16 Ma, Glen is upset trying to dry washing (6)
MANGLE – An anagram (is upset) of MANGLE. I don’t think that the trying works here as a link word wordplay “trying” definition and, if it is part of the definition, the answer does not mean the same thing as the definition.
18 Relation has snooze first; use for dinner (6)
NAPKIN – A word meaning to snooze before (first) a word for a relation. I think that the definition here is a little too oblique and does not really fit the answer.
20 Mr Branson’s cliff? (8)
RICHARDS – The first name of the founder of the Virgin empire with an S (from the ‘s in the clue) gives the incorrect surname of the evergreen singer whose name is spelled without an S at the end.
23 Temp doctor in “Hello Cumbria” video (5)
LOCUM – The answer is hidden in HELLO CUMBRIA. As “in” has already been as a hidden word indicator in 10a, perhaps a different indicator should be used here. Practice differs amongst editor about the use of additional words that contribute to the surface reading but which do not form part of the wordplay being used in the clue. In this case, the “video” is ornamentation as it plays no role in the answer but adds to the surface reading.
24 Like some parts of deer (3)
ELK – An anagram (un-indicated) of LKE (some parts of LIKE). An anagram indicator should be provided where you are instructing the solver to rearrange letters. Saying some parts without indicating which letter is to be deleted will not be liked by all solvers or editors. The usual rule for setters is that you can use definition of wordplay but not wordplay of definition. Some editors will be stricter in enforcing this rule than others.
25 Boat in pools back underway (5)
SLOOP – Reverse (back underway) the POOLS from the clue. The underway is strictly ornamentation as the reversal indicator is back. Arguably, as a phrase “back underway” would mean on the way again which does not imply a reversal.
27 Almost stayed in due to mess on tie (5)
STAIN – Half the word (almost) STAYED followed by the IN from the clue. Can almost indicate only half of a word? The strict rule would be that it means all but the last letter but some editors would allow the greater part to be represented by almost. However, half is not the greater part. As the definition is an example of the answer, some editors would require a ? or a maybe / for example to indicate that there is a definition by example.
28 Cockney eyes yummy Xmas fare (5-4)
MINCE-PIES – Cockney rhyming slang for the eyes gives you the answer.
30 Flavour? Mix as nose dictates (6)
SEASON – An anagram (mix) of AS NOSE. The dictates is strictly ornamentation to add to the surface reading unless you read it in a slight yoda-ish way of saying the definition is dictated by an anagram of these words.
31 Loosened a tether to watch play (7)
THEATRE – An anagram (loosened) of A TETHER. The definition “to watch play” does not lead to the noun that the answer requires. Perhaps to see play would give wordplay to see definition which would then work. As a play is only one form of the answer, a question mark to other indication that this is a definition by example would be required by some editors.
1 Was ten cents up after a shot (5)
AIMED – After the A from the clue you can have one of two possibilities – a reversal of DIME for ten cents (which does not work as the letters required are IMED not EMID) or an anagram (up) of DIME (ten-cents) which gives an indirect anagram which are an big no-no is almost all crosswords.
2 Drunken idol – ‘e was well lubricated (5)
OILED – An anagram (drunken) of IDOL E.
3 Mixed tea for afternoon repast (3)
EAT – An anagram (mixed) of TEA. We have already had “mix” as an anagram indicator and “mixed” appears again in 15d with “mix” in 19d. Ideally, wordplay indictors should be used only once in a crossword. I don’t think that the answer (a verb) is a synonym for the definition (a noun).
4 He caught fish whilst dancing? (6)
REELER – A double definition, the first being an oblique references to a fisherman and the second, equally oblique, to a person dancing.
5 Just for bikes? Sounds mad to Northerner (5,4)
CYCLE PATH – How a Northerner might, after several strong gin and tonic, lisp pronounce psychopath.
6 Call after hearing aid for jewellery (7)
EARRING – A word meaning call after the organ that aids hearing.
9 Woman almost falls over collecting currency (7)
SHEKELS – A three letter pronoun for a woman followed by a word meaning falls over with the central letter removed. I suspect that despite comments on the blog, editors would be unlikely to look with favour with using almost to remove one letter from any position in the word. The structure wordplay collecting definition does not work for me as a link word
11 Struggle I’ve faced (3)
VIE – An anagram (faced) of IVE. I cannot see that faced is an anagram indicator. If struggle is the anagram indicator, I cannot see that faced gives the answer in the correct tense. In any event, here and in 3d we have anagrams of three letter words which hardly seems worth the effort.
12 Number of Romans trying IV treatment (4)
FOUR – A rather round-about way of defining the English spelling of the Roman number 4.
14 Ron needs handles for light? (7)
CANDLES – A reference to Ronnie Barker’s famous fork handles sketch.
15 Royal Marine mixed Tim’s gin to get menu extras (9)
TRIMMINGS – An anagram of RM (Royal Marine) TIMS GIN. The wordplay does not quite work here as the instructions do not tell you to mix the RM with the other letters.
17 Ill man in charge in South Korea initially (4)
SICK – The abbreviation for in charge inside the initial letters of South Korea. Again the “man” is padding for the surface reading rather than adding to the wordplay.
19 Some cake mix in page made complete parcel (7)
PACKAGE – An anagram (mix) of CAK (some cake) inside the PAGE from the clue.
21 Regret, we hear, chasing marsupial (3)
ROO – A homophone (we hear) of RUE (regret). As “we hear” has been used as a homophone indicator in 1a, a different one should be used here. I don’t think that wordplay chasing definition works very well as a link word.
22 State Nurse included extra service (6)
SERMON – An anagram (un-indicated) of MORE (extra) inside the abbreviation for State Nurse. Not only do we have an indirect anagram but an un-indicated anagram to boot! The answer is part of the definition, not a service in its own right.
25 Location is part of the act (5)
SCENE – A double definition.
26 Glue artificial jewel (5)
PASTE – A double definition.
29 Sheep came up to be idiot (3)
NUT – Reverse (came up) a word for a sheep. I cannot find a reference to tun being a sheep but could this be a mistaken reference to a tup?