A Puzzle by Fidelibus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Christmas is almost upon us, and Fidelibus returns with a puzzle that has a Yuletide flavour to the clues. 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.
Fidelibus did a wonderful job in getting all of the clues to follow the festive food theme. As others have pointed out already, some of the resulting surface readings could have been polished a little more. It was not as difficult as his previous crossword which elicited a “phew” from Gazza and several people throwing in the towel but it felt a little less polished.
Save in a small number of cases, the wordplay was, however, clearly indicated. I think less repetition in some of the wordplay would have been welcome. The words centre or central was used far too many times to indicate the middle letter and ten anagrams was probably a few too many.
1 Top table type maybe with GSOH clowning in short while (3,4)
BIG SHOT – An anagram (clowning) of GSOH inside a three letter word for a short while.
5 Possibly white meat cut back in a cut, cut (7)
ANAEMIC – Remove the final letter (cut) of meat and reverse the letters (back). Put them in the A from the clue and a word meaning cut with the final letter removed (cut).
9 Half of rum’s left – ‘The Queen?’ Yes (5)
RULER – … yes referring to the fact that the the Queen is also the definition as well as part of the wordplay. The first two letters of rum’s followed by abbreviations for left and the Queen.
10 I handle complaints re bones and mashed potatoes (hard) (9)
OSTEOPATH – An anagram (mashed) of POTATOES followed by the abbreviation for hard.
11 Choice meat dinner let stew with love (10)
TENDERLOIN – An anagram (stew) of DINNER LET O (love).
12 ‘They give us mutton during Yuletide’ we sniff (4)
EWES – The answer is hidden in YULETIDE WE SNIFF.
14 Where W Indians live get spicy goose mostly man, I don’t here (5,7)
SANTA DOMINGO – An anagram (spicy) of GOOS (goose mostly) MAN I DON’T. I was not too keen on the construction of this clue, which breaks down to definition get wordplay here.
18 See father, weight that’s lost with taking exercise on wagon? Lots (7,5)
FREIGHT TRAIN – A two letter abbreviation for Father followed by the WEIGHT from the clue without (lost) the abbreviation for with followed by a word meaning exercise.
21 I’ll do oeufs Lyonnaise for starters I’m a star… (4)
IDOL – The initial letters (for starters) of the first four words in the clue.
22 …for the judges, fair Lyonnaise’s here unvarying at centre (10)
JUSTICIARY – A four letter word meaning fair followed by the French (Lyonnaise’s) for here and the central three lettes of unvarying.
25 What’s to be divided up neat rum or fizz? (9)
NUMERATOR – An anagram (fizz) of NEAT RUM OR.
26 Mark from nasty grease not stuffing (5)
BADGE –A three letter word meaning nasty followed by the outer letters (not stuffing) of grease.
27 Presented with portion of chicken do we dine? (7)
ENDOWED – The answer is hidden in (portion of) CHICKEN DO WE DINE.
28 For ‘more the merrier’ one needs 100% proof (7)
THEOREM – An anagram (merrier) of MORE THE.
1 Bread and tea both endlessly ruined carpet (6)
BERATE – An anagram (ruined) of BREA TE (bread and tea with the final letters removed – both endlessly).
2 Lead’s taken from this gang heading off up drinking beer (6)
GALENA – Remove the first letter (heading off) gang and reverse the letters (up) then include (drinking) a three letter word for beer.
3 Guffaw and expressions of surprise and disgust about small portion? No minute! (10)
HORSELAUGH – A word for a small portion with the initial M removed (no minute) goes inside a two letter word denoting an expression of surprise and a three letter word expressing disgust.
4 Start row online with small portion of turkey requiring a wad (5)
TROLL – The first letter (small portion of) turkey followed by another word for a wad.
5 Dear tat in crackers for what was unfair charge (9)
ATTAINDER – An anagram (crackers) of DEAR TAT IN.
6 On turkeys at centre getting short a crowd is wild (4)
AMOK – On top of the central letter (at centre) of turkeys add the A from the clue and a phrase for a crowd with the final letter removed (short). I was not too concerned about the short being before the A but it could have been corrected with “getting a crowd briefly wild”.
7 Cat’s crying with nothing to eat, I am cutting up rough part of turkey (8)
MIAOWING – An anagram (cutting up rough) of I AM includes (eating) the letter representing nothing and is followed by part of a turkey.
8 Bonding in company that guy’s number one getting up (8)
COHESION – The abbreviation for company followed by the pronoun for that’s guy’s and a reversal (getting up) of NO 1 (number one).
13 Not for mixing I’m miserable spending time round half of city (10)
IMMISCIBLE – The IM from the clue followed by the MISERABLE after removing a three letter for a period of time all around one half of city.
15 Scoffed first two pieces of turkey dry without giblets? Not a drop of gravy (3-6)
TUT-TUTTED – The first two letters (two pieces) of turkey followed by the abbreviation for teetotal (dry) and a word meaning without giblets from which you have removed the first letter (drop of) gravy.
16 Engage a very loud one for start of dance (8)
AFFIANCE – The A from the clue and the musical notation for very loud followed by the word dance with the first letter replaced by an I (one).
17 Feed dorm duff that’s misshapen (8)
DEFORMED – An anagram (duff) of FEED DORM.
19 I’ll supervise bird being stuffed with central ingredient of mushrooms (6)
WARDER – A type of bird that lives on or near water includes the central letter (ingredient) of mushrooms.
20 One’s taught here Yuletide chap enters initially through chimney (6)
LYCEUM – The initial letters of Yuletide chap enters inside a three letter word for a chimney.
23 A drop of rum? Another downed – I’m a card! (5)
TAROT – The A from the clue and the first letter (drop of) of rum go inside another word for a drop of rum (another downed).
24 Coffee maybe, and what’s needed for follower? Brandy coming up (4)
BREW – The answer is hidden and reversed (coming up) in FOLLOWER BRANDY. I am not sure that (apart from the reversal indicator), the wordplay is set out clearly enough to indicate that there is a hidden word here.