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.
A fourth outing for Metman and there have been a lot of improvements. There were some rough edges with some points that test solving could have ironed out.
6 It’s said that the main feature is so described (7)
LEONINE – The description of the animal whose feature is mane (from a homophone, it’s said that, of main).
7 Exceed this to gain points (5)
LIMIT – A cryptic definition of what it breached get points on your licence. I think that the definition is fine without further reference to speedas it could be blood alcohol count, speed etc.
9 Does a nutter live in it or drive it? (4)
DREY – Double definition of the home of a squirrel (nutter) and a type of cart that may be driven by someone who is a nutter or by sane delivery people.
10 Hostelry gets applause for a change (10)
INNOVATION – A three letter word for a hostelry followed by another word for applause.
11 Unexpected variations is a grave change (8)
VAGARIES – An anagram (change) of IS A GRAVE.
13 Friar at home to scoff (4,2)
TUCK IN – The name of the Friar in the tales of Robin Hood followed by a word meaning at home.
15 A swinish expression (4)
OINK – A thinly veiled reference to the sound that a pig makes.
17 Rat loses head and plays by the river (5)
OTTER – Remove the R from the front (loses head) for a word meaning a rat. Verbal phrases as a definition are fine but could also have been “One plays by the river biting the head off rat”
18 It’s said that this is often shed for this rank (4)
TIER – A homophone (it’s said that) of tear (something often shed). Ideally you should try to avoid repeating wordplay indicators such as “it’s said”.
19 Too spry? doubtful, losing nothing for being active (6)
SPORTY – An anagram (doubtful) of TOO SPRY after removing an O (losing nothing).
20 Yearn after a spell of time (8)
YEARLONG – A word meaning to yearn after a period of 365 days (spell of time) to give another spell of time. I think that the spell of time is doing double duty as part of the wordplay and the definition. It is unfortunate that the first four letters of the answer are also the first four letters of the first word of the clue.
23 Appears wet, unsettled by litter perhaps (5,5)
WASTE PAPER – An anagram (unsettled) of APPEARS WET. I think that definition by (give by) wordplay works but perhaps not wordplay by definition.
26 Old chap by the sea? (4)
COVE – Double definition, the second being a bay or inlet. Prepositional phrases as “by the sea” or “in X” to denote a place are not universally liked.
27 Reverse bed and put eleven in it – could be dangerous (5)
TOXIC – Reverse a three letter word for a bed and include the Roman numerals for 11.
28 Girly slang name (7)
MONIKER – A homophone (slang) of Monica (girly or girl’s name)
1 This busy-body wants to know and is supported by a writer (4,6)
NOSY PARKER – A word meaning wants to know followed by the name of a pen manufacturer or the author Dorothy ??????. I think that there is too much overlap between the “wants to know” and the solution.
2 Brief cover for an atoll (6)
BIKINI – Double definition of skimpy beachwear and an atoll.
3 Enthusiastic lamentation? (4)
KEEN – Double definition of someone who is eager and word for a lamentation over the dead.
4 Tea lover stirred this to go up or down (8)
ELEVATOR – An anagram (stirred up) of TEA LOVER.
5 Honour computer work or drop out (4)
OMIT – The abbreviation for an honour followed by an abbreviation for computer work.
6 Untidy Alvar became quite grubby (5)
LARVA – An anagram (untidy) of ALVAR. Perhaps quintessentially grubby or a grubby representative would be better with a question mark to indicate that the wordplay is not quite what it seems.
8 Be unfaithful twice? (3-4)
TWO-TIME – A mildly cryptic reference to cheating on your nearest and dearest.
12 Results at a yeast testing reveals another flavour (5)
SATAY – The answer is hidden inside RESULTS AT A YEAST. I suppose a dish could also be a flavour. The testing is padding and would not be accepted by all editors.
14 Block of neat fodder (6,4)
CATTLE CAKE – A cryptic definition of an agricultural food source for animals sometimes called neat.
16 You could take new heart from this (7)
IMPLANT – Definition of a medical procedure that could assist or boost the heart’s function (a full replacement would be a transplant).
17 Policy MS rewritten every four years? (8)
OLYMPICS – An anagram (rewritten) of POLICY MS. I am not keen on every four years as a description. Perhaps “It happens every four years when MS Policy is revised”
21 Utter a garbled narrative, I’ve opted out (6)
ARRANT – An anagram (garbled) of NARRATIVE after removing the IVE from the word. It is not much of an anagram as only the N needs to move places but perhaps excusable where you have to remove letters first.
22 Admission Eve rejected with a denial (5)
NEVER – The answer is hidden inside ADMISSION EVE REJECTED. I am in two minds about with as a hidden word indicator.
24 Get mobile to receive this (4)
TEXT – What you could receive on a mobile phone if you had one.
25 This is a ceremony (4)
POMP – A straight definition with no cryptic elements. Eight references to “this” to indicate the solution or part of the wordplay is too many.