A Puzzle by PaulT
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
I was introduced to PaulT [he would have liked to use just his Christian name but someone else had beaten him to it] at the Times Championships back in October. This is his debut puzzle – I hope you enjoy it. 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 crypticsue follows:
I met Paul T at the October S&B and indeed pointed out to him which of the many people in the crowded pub was BD, so it is a pleasure to be able to review his first Rookie Corner puzzle while Prolixic is otherwise engaged with the day job.
The crossword was a fairly tough but enjoyable solve, with a good mix of clue types (I have no objection to multiple ‘lurkers’) Unlike Prolixic, I won’t be commenting on whether the clues meet the crossword rules – Ximenean or otherwise – as I follow the ‘Could I solve it? Did I understand the clues/does the wordplay work? Did I enjoy myself’ system of crossword solving!
Thank you to PaulT for a fine debut Rookie crossword – I look forward to solving your next puzzle in due course – given the standard achieved with your first puzzle, it won’t be long before we’ll be seeing you in the Saturday afternoon NTSPP slot.
1a Note describing troubles with iron’s backup mechanism (4-4)
FAIL-SAFE A musical note going round (describing) another way of saying troubles, the result followed by the chemical symbol for iron
6a He clears up after spread’s left for the second time (6)
BUTLER change the second T for an L (left for the second ‘time’) in something you’d spread on your toast, for example.
9a Mark quarterbacks positioned round player (6,7)
SQUARE BRACKET The abbreviation for one of the players in a game of bridge inserted into an anagram (positioned) of quarterbacks.
10a Greasy tandoori chicken wraps (4)
RICH Wraps indicates that a synonym for greasy is hidden in tandooRI CHicken. When I asked whether Mr CS thought greasy was the same as the solution, his response was that his mother, a notoriously fussy eater, would have definitely said so!
11a Bad review that might be kept if wanted (3,7)
LOW PROFILE Synonyms for bad and review describes something a wanted criminal might keep.
12a Act stupidly and scarper quickly (4,2)
BEAT IT Split the fairly obvious solution 2,1,3 and the first part of the clue will become clear.
13a Detective supports 25% of offender’s alibi? (8)
DISPROOF A less common alibi – the abbreviation for detective, plus a way you could say supports (2, 3) and the first quarter (25%) of the eight letter word offender.
16a They hold a heart between two spades (8)
STICKERS An informal ‘heart’ inserted between two abbreviations for spades in a game of cards.
19a Like raft I’d let slip (6)
ADRIFT An anagram (let slip) of RAFT ID.
21a Fawn in cage eats at one (10)
INGRATIATE IN (from the clue) followed by a ‘cage’ into which is inserted (eats) AT (from the clue) and the letter that looks like a one. I was held up because at first I didn’t think the word required meant the same as ‘cage’. Interestingly all the thesauri I consulted agreed with me, but Chambers Crossword Dictionary and Mrs Bradford both list the alternatives – perhaps it is a ‘crossword thing’.
24a Brave resistance suppresses state (4)
AVER This verb is lurking in (or being suppressed by) brAVE Resistance.
25a Like buttery dessert pastry, soon finished (5,3,5)
SHORT AND SWEET This expression meaning unexpectedly brief could equally well describe the pastry I use when making mince pies. [I tried Charlie on cryptic crosswords but he prefers the Quick GK on a Saturday afternoon!]
27a Actor at premiere of powerful film (6)
PLAYER The ‘premiere’ of Powerful followed by a film in the sense of a thin coating.
28a Prime Minister’s second-quarter after-tax earnings eclipse normal leaders (8)
NINETEEN I did spend a ‘gnoment’ wondering if there was an actual Prime Minister whose name started with N but soon worked out the definition. Interestingly, I only really ‘saw’ the “second quarter” once I’d got the draft review document on my screen as the font is much larger than that on the pdf used to solve the puzzle. This clue contains another eight-letter word where you only need some of the letters, the ‘second quarter’ which should be followed by the amount you have after all the deductions such as tax have been deducted from your earnings, and the ‘leaders’ of Earnings, Eclipse and Normal.
2d Playing table tennis, knocking out the European continent (9)
ABSTINENT Nice attempt at misleading with ‘continent’ – here we need the adjective meaning exercising self-restraint which is obtained from an anagram (playing) of TABLE TENNIS, once we have removed LE (knocking out the in French – a European language).
3d Deride US city that’s awful and extremely affluent (5,2)
LAUGH AT The abbreviation for the west coast US city so useful for crossword setters, an interjection expressing disgust and the ‘extreme’ letters of AffluenT
4d Scottish town dismissed lawyer oddly (3)
AYR Dismiss the odd letters of lAwYeR
5d Was pushy working below senior journalist (7)
ELBOWED An anagram (working) of BELOW followed by the abbreviation for the most senior journalist.
6d Retreat after starting to bully old leader (5)
BLAIR The ‘start’ to Bully followed by a retreat used by a wild animal.
7d Mistake as I follow third attempt to perform scene to an audience? (4,3)
TAKE FOR To an audience indicates that we are looking for a homophone. This time the solution sounds like what we might say if we’d already had three goes at performing something, usually when making a film.
8d Recommend section of index to librarian (5)
EXTOL Another lurker, this time found in a section of indEX TO Librarian. Not sure ‘praise enthusiastically’ which is the BRB definition for xxxxx means quite the same thing as recommend. However, if Kath was to ask the 2Kiwis about any good crosswords she’d missed while she is travelling in the Antipodes, they could xxxxx the virtues of this one and recommend she solves it when she has time!
11d Placed second detailed Starbucks order? (5)
LATTE Remove the final letter (detailed) from an adjective denoting the second or second-mentioned of two.
14d Pole used when punting (5)
STAKE This stick driven into the ground as a marker or as part of a fence has the same meaning as money used when betting (punting meaning gambling here).
15d Not in the middle of frenetic movement, I scarpered (3-6)
OFF-CENTRE OF (from the clue) followed by an anagram (movement) of FRENETIC once you have removed the I (I scarpered).
17d Quick like a mouse? (7)
CURSORY I was going to be pedantic about the ‘like a mouse?’ but the lovely cryptic definition made me smile so I won’t.
18d He studied mathematics course in Ireland (7)
SHANNON I did know the river (course) but I have to admit I’d never heard of Claude who apparently was the founder of information theory.
20d Bond with rhenium as part of chemistry experiment (7)
REAGENT The chemical symbol for rhenium followed by the word James Bond might use when asked what he did for a living.
22d Sleeps with Paul regularly without initially paying through the nose (5)
NASAL Remove the initial letter of Paying from another way of saying ‘sleeps’ and follow with the regular letters of pAuL
23d Coach tour travels round capital of Turkey (5)
TUTOR An anagram (travels) of TOUR goes round the ‘capital’ of Turkey.
26d Try and get brown paper (3)
SUN This verb meaning to expose oneself to sunshine is also the name of one of the tabloid papers.