A Puzzle by Metman
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have another puzzle from Metman. 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 by Prolixic follows.
Welcome back to Metman. Creating a good cryptic crossword requires a fantastic (some might say an obsessive) attention to detail in every clue. It is very difficult to maintain that level of consistency and detail as a beginner so whilst there are lots of snagging comments in the crossword, these will be ironed out with more practice. Please, no more indirect anagrams though.
6 A war time kid who didn’t get sent to Coventry? (7)
EVACUEE – During WWII, children were evacuated from cities so would not have been sent to Coventry. Coventry was heavily bombed. My parents lived in Leicester at the time and can remember seeing the light from the fires in Coventry in the night sky.
7 Horse refusing a fence might think hinge is damaged (5)
NEIGH – An anagram (is damaged) of HINGE. I don’t think that the wordplay quite works here. For the sound of a horse to be the answer, you have the first five words as the answer so you are left with definition think wordplay. Perhaps “Horse refusing a fence might damage hinge” would be better.
9 Confused infant lost an old book but was inexperienced (4)
NAIF – An anagram (confused) of INFANT after removing (lost an) the abbreviation for New Testament (book). As the New Testament is a collection of books, the plural would be more appropriate. As Dutch has pointed out, “Inexperienced infant losing books is confused” would be a better clue.
10 This devotee is sat in the US, bemused (10)
ENTHUSIAST – An anagram (bemused) of SAT IN THE US. Three anagrams in a row should be avoided where possible to give greater variety.
11 Raise the temperature, also lift iron, it will bring warmth (4,4)
HEAT PUMP – A word meaning raise the temperature followed by another word meaning to lift iron as a gym exercise. The first part of the wordplay is closely linked to the definition. Perhaps “With fervour, lift iron – it will raise the temperature” would improve things.
13 Sister with short Chief Information Officer is type of diplomat (6)
NUNCIO – Another word for a religious (sister) followed by the abbreviation for Chief information Officer. Neither Chambers or Collins give CIO as an abbreviation for Chief Information Officer. Using short does not enable you to use the initial letters as an unrecognised abbreviation. Perhaps “Sister meeting Channel Islands’s old diplomat” would solve the issues.
15 More than one of these is boring and meaningless (4)
BLAH – The word which when repeated is used to indicate something that is boring and meaningless. According to Chambers, the word on its own means exactly the same as the word when repeated or tripled so the clue does not really work.
17 Frenzied, I sock a pervert (5)
SICKO – An anagram (frenzied) of I SOCK.
18 Unfortunately it contains fish (4)
TUNA – The answer is hidden in (it contains) UNFORTUNATELY. Although the it could be removed, the clue works with it as well and perhaps reads better with it.
19 Mashed new vegetable found in Scandinavia (6)
SWEDEN – An anagram (mashed) of N (new) and SWEDE. A lot to comment on with this clue. First, it is constructed as an indirect anagram which is frowned upon (as pointed out in a review of a previous Metman crossword). Secondly, the letters are not really rearranged so it is not much of an anagram. Finally, the construction wordplay found in definition does not work as well as definition found in wordplay.
20 Drunk? TT league will provide guidance and protection (8)
TUTELAGE – An anagram (drunk) of TT LEAGUE. Whilst “and protection” could be omitted, as an extended definition it works ok.
23 School, not quite nice, and a Scot develop a skilled operative (10)
TECHNICIAN – A four letter word which is loosely a school, the first three letters (not quite) of nice and a typical Scottish first name. Perhaps college would have provided a close synonym for the first four letters.
26 Rescue a broken flower receptacle (4)
SAVE – An anagram (broken) of VASE (flower receptacle). Another indirect anagram! Even though it is four letters, this is not an excuse!
27 Outlying office without head which usually holds stock (5)
RANCH – Remove the first letter (without head) from a word meaning an outlying office.
28 Warning a bloke he is in charge (7)
FOREMAN – A warning used in golf followed by another word for a block.
1 Brought from a great distance? – unbelievable! (3-7)
FAR-FETCHED – As an adjective this sounds like something brought from a great distance.
2 Government agency to write off? (6)
BUREAU – A definition / cryptic definition. As a Government agency is is used in America rather than the UK so perhaps American agency to write off might be better.
3 Get out of it by repayment (4)
DEBT – A thinly veiled (almost transparent) clue to what making repayments will reduce.
4 Fragmented Northern Ireland undone by insinuation (8)
INNUENDO – An anagram (fragmented) of NI (Northern Ireland) UNDONE.
5 Delhi final has the sound of quality (2-2)
HI-FI – The answer is hidden in (has) DELHI-FINAL. I am not sure that the answer means the “sound of quality”, rather a quality sound.
6 Rubber as expected shows it can do this (5)
ERASE – The answer is hidden in (shows) in RUBBER AS EXPECTED. Perhaps “Rubber as expected shows what it can do” would be better.
8 A German cloth (7)
HESSIAN – Double definition. A typical German name and a type of rough cloth. As we go from the generic (cloth) to the specific (type of cloth) we don’t need a definition by example indicator.
12 Topic around for what a seamstress does for fancy work? (5)
PICOT – An anagram (around) of TOPIC. Again there is an extended definition and either part would work but they work together. Maybe “Stitching topic for seamstresses work.” would shorten the clue.
14 Irritate an unspecified number to cause trouble (10)
NEEDLESOME – A word meaning irritate followed by a word meaning an unspecified number. Neither Chambers or Collins list this as a word. It is clued as either a verb (to cause trouble) or a noun (trouble with the “to cause” being a link phrase) but the answer appears to be an adjective.
16 Select this to prevent a career going downhill (3,4)
LOW GEAR – What you select when going downhill in a car to prevent over speeding.
17 Star is not heavy but will still give you a tanning (8)
SUNLIGHT – A three letter word for our local star followed by a word meaning “is not heavy”. Perhaps “it will still give you a tanning” would be better.
21 Actress Mary following decimal base for incumbency (6)
TENURE – The surname of a little known actress Mary who appeared in Look Back in Anger, Sons and Lovers and Where Eagles Dare followed by the number used as the base of the decimal system.
22 Yogi ventured to show reality (5)
GIVEN – The answer is hidden (to show) in YOGI VENTURED. Show has already been used as a hidden word indicator so a different word should be used here. I am not convinced that the answer and the definition are synonymous.
24 Piece torn off a loaf for Arnie? (4)
HUNK – A double definition for a bit of break torn from a loaf and the actor Arnold Schwarznegger maybe forty years ago!
25 Naval artificer loses head in suspicious manner (4)
IFFY – Remove the first letter (loses head) from an obscure word not in the main dictionaries for a naval artificer. Loses head has already been used as first letter deletion indicator so a different one should be used. The definition looks as though it requires an adverb but the answer is an adjective. Using a word not in the main dictionaries might be considered a little unfair on the solver.