A Puzzle by Arepo
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Arepo is looking forward to receiving your feedback for this, his third, puzzle. 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.
Due in part to promotion to the NTSPP slot of many of the prolific Rookie Corner setters, the queue of puzzles has reached a critical level, with only one puzzle, by loonapick, currently awaiting publication. New contributions are urgently needed (if you think you have already sent one then please get in touch asap).
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.
Review by Gazza.
In Prolixic’s absence living it up in Prague I’ve been called off the bench to review this one. Arepo has given us a very accomplished and entertaining puzzle. There’s a theme relating to books of the Bible (a theme that Prolixic will be sorry to have missed because it’s really his specialist subject). Arepo has managed to fit no less than fifteen related answers into the grid (plus one more in the 5a clue) which really is very impressive.
If I were being hypercritical I‘d say that some of the clues are a bit verbose but there’s much to admire in the clue construction and there are some excellent misdirections. Thanks, Arepo, for a really good puzzle which I thought was pitched at just the right level for Rookie Corner – I look forward to your next one.
1a Anaesthetic – small quantities (7)
NUMBERS – a cryptic anaesthetic followed by S(mall).
5a Short book about end of building society rates (6)
JUDGES – the name of a short book of the Bible (apparently it has only 25 verses) contains the end letter of building. Finish with a single-letter abbreviation for society.
9a Performed musical number backwards for drink (7)
SANGRIA – a verb meaning ‘gave a vocal performance’ followed by the reversal of a musical number.
10a Singular point that hurt holding partners (7)
NONSUCH – start with a cardinal point and add an expression of pain (that hurt!) containing one of the pairs of partners at bridge. Singular here is a noun meaning an individual thing.
11a Current Eliot play’s sections (4)
ACTS – the abbreviation for a type of electric current followed by the initials of Mr Eliot, the poet and dramatist.
12a Gadgetry with surprisingly minute man-made element (10)
TECHNETIUM – the abbreviation for technology or gadgetry is followed by an anagram (surprisingly) of MINUTE. This chemical element was new to me – apparently it was the first element to be created artificially, in 1937.
14a Fancy lead-in for John’s song (6)
DANIEL – an anagram (fancy) of LEAD-IN.
16a Writer’s college (5)
KINGS – the surname of horror writer Stephen and the ‘S. ‘Writer’ is pretty vague but is not a real problem since three of the five letters are checked.
19a Slip and strike head in panic (5)
ERROR – strike out the leading letter from a word meaning panic or fright. It’s slightly odd that two answers (this one and 2d) appear as anagram fodder in other clues.
20a London borough hospital out of medicine (6)
EALING – drop the abbreviation for hospital from the start of a word meaning medicine or treatment.
23a News: Apple fan from 30 left with a classic model iPod regularly covered by service (10)
REVELATION – the lady who lusted after an apple in 30a is followed by L(eft), A, a classic model of car and the odd (regularly) letters of iPod. Take a deep breath and then put all that inside the abbreviation for our senior service. Perhaps ‘of 30’ rather than ‘from 30’ would make the surface smoother.
25a Lure Charlie over with a kiss (4)
COAX – string together the abbreviation for Charlie or cocaine, the abbreviation for an over in cricket, A and the letter that’s used as a kiss.
27a Do the maths exercise (4,3)
WORK OUT – double definition.
28a Candle I lit for foreign country (7)
ICELAND – an anagram (lit) of CANDLE I.
29a Unorthodox mass involving long piano-led hymns (6)
PSALMS – an anagram (unorthodox) of MASS contains an abbreviation for long and that’s all preceded by the musical abbreviation for piano. The abbreviation for long is not in Chambers though it is in Chambers XWD dictionary of crossword abbreviations.
30a Origin of what’s inherited by relative (7)
GENESIS – a biological unit of heredity is followed by the abbreviation for a female relative.
1d Caribbean capital halves trading places in public baths (6)
NASSAU – start with a word for steamy baths and change the order of the two syllables. I’m not sure that the baths are necessarily ‘public’.
2d Big hand or small? (6)
MINUTE – double definition, the first another description for the big hand on a watch or clock.
3d Pound found in Zagreb, strangely, not Great Britain (4)
EZRA – an anagram (strangely) of ZA[g]RE[b] without the abbreviation for Great Britain gives us the forename of the poet Mr Pound.
4d Take Ibsen play as possibly venomous attack (9)
SNAKEBITE – an anagram (play) of TAKE IBSEN.
5d Cursed mariner I see following jack aboard (5)
JONAH – an expression of realisation (I see) follows the abbreviation for jack (in playing cards) and a preposition meaning aboard.
6d Put on weight eating wings of every kind for starters then playing a series of video games (6,4)
DONKEY KONG – a verb to put on clothes is followed by the abbreviation for a metric weight containing the outer letters (wings) of E[ver]Y, the starting letter of kind and an adverb meaning playing or performing. Starters (plural) would normally mean more than a single letter but ‘for starters’ works fine to identify just one letter.
7d Hungry, employment over, I got in debt to landlord (8)
ESURIENT – reverse a word meaning employment or operation then insert I into what’s paid to a landlord or property holder. I didn’t know this word but the wordplay is clear.
8d Scientist‘s revolutionary film (7)
CHEMIST – charade of our usual South American revolutionary and a film or haze.
13d Dance includes foolish error incorporating novice manoeuvre in the air (6,4)
BARREL ROLL – a formal dance contains an anagram (foolish) of ERROR which in turn contains the abbreviation for a learner or novice.
15d That’s funny running! (9)
LOLLOPING – this is an all-in-one. The abbreviation used in textspeak to express amusement (not ‘lots of love’ as our ex-Prime Minister thought) is followed by a present participle meaning running with long bounding strides.
17d The chosen job description for tea boy (7)
HEBREWS – split the answer 2,5 for a description of what a tea boy does.
18d One giving evidence with nonsense sayings (8)
PROVERBS – someone giving evidence or demonstrating the truth of something is followed by the abbreviation for a slightly vulgar slang term for nonsense.
21d Not like this, says leader of imperialists (6)
ROMANS – not italic but an upright typeface followed by the leading letter of ‘says’.
22d Going out with old lover to have dangerous quantity of drugs with us (6)
EXODUS – string together the short word for a one-time lover, an abbreviation meaning to take too many drugs and US.
24d Admit it used to harbour leader of 21 (5)
TITUS – this old leader of the 21d is lurking in the clue.
26d Holy books sent back containing Queen flier (4)
TERN – the reversal of the abbreviation for the newer set of holy books in the Bible contains our Queen’s regnal cipher.
I have a long list of likes including 14a, 1d, 2d and 21d but my favourite is 15d .