Merry Christmas by Silvanus
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Silvanus has prepared a special Christmas treat – enjoy! 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.
Silvanus has produced a lovely Christmas treat.
Compliments of the season to everyone – have a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year.
9 Planned Government programme is broadcast on Christmas Day (3,6,6)
THE QUEEN’S SPEECH – Double definition of what Her Majesty delivers to Parliament at the State Opening each year and to the nation on Christmas Day.
10 Santa Claus, for example, involved later on (3,4)
NOT REAL – An anagram (involved) of LATER ON. Vicars have been hung out to dry in the papers for suggesting this. Perhaps your pseudonym needs to be changed to Scrooge! Remember that definition have to be accurate and not misleading and suitable for a wide range of readers.
12 Controversy about lighter centrepiece of religious ceremony (7)
WORSHIP – Reverse (about) a word for a controversy or argument and follow this with another word for a lighter or type of boat.
13 Torchwood remake occupies prime Christmas TV slot (6,3)
DOCTOR WHO – An anagram (remake) of TORCHWOOD. Torchwood was the original code word used by the BBC to mark tapes of the answer.
14 Detect painting going round church (5)
TRACE – Reverse a three letter word for a painting and follow it with the abbreviation for the Church of England.
15 Graduates are indeed degraded (7)
DEBASED – A three letter word for graduates (note the plural) in DEED (indeed). Views differ on the acceptability of constructions such as indeed where you have to split the word into IN DEED.
18 Overlooked having been given permission to leave the Christmas dinner table? (7)
EXCUSED – A double definition.
21 Chose some Muscadet, possibly, on reflection (5)
OPTED – The answer is hidden (some) and reversed (on reflection) in MUSCADET POSSIBLY.
23 Male bird I’ve stuffed is covering area used in the kitchen (9)
MICROWAVE – The abbreviation for male followed by the I’ve from the clue inside which (stuffed) you include the name of a bird around (covering) the abbreviation for area. Unless you read this in an extremely Yoda like fashion, to me this indicates that the IVE goes inside the bird. Perhaps “for something used in the kitchen” would have been a better definition.
25 Biased, but not completely? (7)
PARTIAL – A double definition. Completely would require a adverb as the second definition but the answer is an adjective.
26 In the morning regular tea avoids reversion to a more primitive type (7)
ATAVISM – Inside the abbreviation for the morning hours include the odd letters (regular) of tea avoids. I prefer regularly to regular when used for hidden words. Here this could have been clued as “In the morning, oddly, tea…”to overcome the issue.
29 Pins could be inexpensive Christmas gifts? (8,7)
STOCKING FILLERS – A cryptic definition with pins being another word for legs.
1 Shock switch of Christmas nibbles (4)
STUN – Reverse (switch) a food on which you nibble at Christmas.
2 Judge established as object of laughter (4)
JEST – The abbreviation for judge followed by the abbreviation for established.
3 Told you will record opening to “Strictly”? Sounds a great Christmas tradition! (4,4)
YULE LOGS – A homophone (told) of YOU WILL in its abbreviated form followed by a word meaning to record and the first letter (opening to) of Strictly. The “sounds” could be omitted from the clue.
4 Chap stumbled approaching town centre (6)
FELLOW – The word meaning stumbled followed by the middle letters (centre) of town. As town centre means centre of the town I think that requiring town’s centre would be unduly pedantic.
5 Proverb bridges a gap in general (2,1,5)
AS A WHOLE – A three letter word for a proverb goes inside (bridges as in fill the gap between) the A from the clue and a four letter word for a gap.
6 Christmas present received by Scrooge? (6)
SPIRIT – A double definition of who visited Scrooge and something such as a bottle of brandy that you might get as a Christmas present.
7 Rash deed transformed those prone to freckles (8)
REDHEADS – An anagram (transformed) of RASH DEED.
8 Nativity character traditionally excited by a particular evening shade? (8)
SHEPHERD – A cryptic definition referring to the proverb “Red sky at night”. One of the earliest recorded versions of the proverb is in Matthew’s gospel – Chapter 16 verse 2.
11 Gas region supports ending of embargo (5)
OZONE – The final letter (ending of) embargo goes over (supported by) another word for a region.
15 Swapped around locations for street party, hiding poor substitute for jam, say (8)
DOORPOST – Swap the abbreviation for street and a two letter word for a party and include an anagram (substitute) of POOR. This is a clue to a clue when you look at the definition as the definition itself is a homophone of a jam and it would be usual to give a direct definition.
16 Convenience to Americans of English city upsets Muslim (8)
BATHROOM – The name of a SW city in England followed by a reversal (upsets) of a Muslim. Arguably the word to be reversed is a North African who may (but not necessarily) be a Muslim.
17 Get rid of Heather for a more rounded person? (8)
DUMPLING – A four letter word meaning to get rid of (as you might a boyfriend) followed by another word for heather.
19 House is enthralled by first Christmas gathering suitable for singers (8)
CHORALLY – The abbreviation for house goes inside (enthralled by) the first letter (first) of Christmas and another word for a gathering. Again purists would not like first on its own to indicate the initial letter. Here suitable for singers would indicate an adjective but the answer is an adjective.
20 King perhaps has a point replacing independent industrious Christmas workers (5)
ELVES – The first name of the King (Mr Presley) has the abbreviation for East (point) replacing the I (independent).
22 Christmas celebration maybe for daughter facing resistance over tattoos (6)
DRINKS – The abbreviations for daughter and resistance followed by another word for tattoos.
24 Teases Charles outside very loudly (6)
CHAFFS – A four letter contraction of the name Charles around (outside) the musical notation for very loudly.
27 Ivy’s Latin companion at Christmas immersed in email exchange (4)
ILEX – The Latin name of Holly is hidden in (immersed in) EMAIL EXCHANGE.
28 Donkey follows Mary’s introduction to Christmas service (4)
MASS – The first letter (introduction) of Mary followed by another word for a donkey.