A Puzzle by Jeroboam
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Jeroboam has been a regular entrant in our Monthly Prize Puzzle competition and has decided to have a go at setting one of his own. 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 by Prolixic follows.
A super start from Jeroboam. It takes some bottle to put out your first crossword and this was a magnum opus. There was a good variety of clues. Some of them might have been a little smoother. There are a few minor points that have mostly been picked up in the comments.
1 Beastly operations omit 66 cuts. (8)
SECTIONS – Remove two VIs (6) from a word for scientific experiments performed on animals. A general point, but the convention is not to put full stops at the end of clues.
5 Football Association lies about improvement in cup form. (6)
FALSIE – The abbreviation for the football association followed by an anagram (about) of LIES. I don’t see a problem with this in the singular. Following an operation, someone may have only one fitted.
10 Respond to mixed race, first half of TT. (5)
REACT – An anagram (mixed) of RACE followed by the first of the Ts from TT.
11 Doctor the French order. Extra starter is good for you. (9)
WHOLESOME – The doctor who travels in a Tardis followed by the French plural for “the”, the abbreviation for Order of Merit and the first letter (starter) of extra.
12 Beset by grief, broken, we beg no-one to lose love. (9)
WOEBEGONE – An anagram (broken) of WE BEG NO-ONE without a letter O (for love). Unfortunately, it is on of the Ns that has to be removed, not one of the Os.
13 McDonald’s choice to dine at home. (3,2)
EAT IN – A double definition of how you can choose to dine at McDonalds or to dine at home.
14 Rabbit, perhaps, takes measure to get shot. (6)
PELLET – A three letter word for a rabbit (or cat or do, etc) includes (takes) a measure of cloth.
15 Albeit time for cogitation. (7)
THOUGHT – A six letter word meaning albeit followed by the abbreviation for time.
18 Miss Loe prepared to be flexible. (7)
LISSOME – An anagram (prepared) of MISSLOE.
20 Working Cockney chap. Method not requiring reciprocation. (3,3)
ONE WAY – A two letter word for working followed by how a Cockney would say “he” and another word for method.
22 Scratch the previous clue. (5)
SCORE – Double definition, the second being the number of the previous clue.
24 Not closed, closed. It may never be. (4,5)
OPEN ENDED – A word meaning the opposite of closed and a word meaning finished or closed. As others have pointed out, the answer is usually hyphenated to give 4-5.
25 Dull chase for a speedy dog. (9)
GREYHOUND – A word meaning dull (unless in variety of Fifty Shades – so I am told) and word meaning chase. As the final five letters of the answer indicate that the dog is one that chases, perhaps a different synonym could be used. Perhaps “Dull scoundrel’s speedy dog”.
26 Forces not satisfied. (5)
UNMET – The abbreviation for peacekeeping forces followed by the abbreviation for the London police force. I am happy with the peacekeepers being a “force”.
27 Brown returns flower for Mother? (6)
NATURE – Reverse (returns) a three letter word for brown and follow it with the name of a river.
28 Sailor backed vote for new church’s temporary shelving. (8)
ABEYANCE – The abbreviation for able seaman followed by the reversal (backed) of a vote for something, the abbreviation for new and the abbreviation for Church of England.
1 Spread betting on fight that hasn’t started. (6)
SPRAWL – The abbreviation for starting price (betting) followed by a word for a rough fight without its first letter (that hasn’t started).
2 Continuous energy absorbed by action in smaller quantity (9)
CEASELESS – Another word for a legal action includes (absorbed) the abbreviation for energy and this is followed by a word meaning in smaller quantity.
3 Healthier gent to swing with nothing on. (2,3,10)
IN THE ALTOGETER – An anagram (swing) of HEALTHIER GENT TO.
4 Fresh hull or kiel for Welsh city (7)
NEWPORT – A three letter word meaning fresh followed by a word describing Hull or Kiel. The convention is that you can capitalise a noun to mislead but you should not put a proper noun into lower case to mislead.
6 Get on prior to bombshell dropped cheekily into conversation with someone older. (3,6,6)
AGE BEFORE BEAUTY – A word meaning to get on or grow old followed by a word meaning prior to and another word for bombshell or pretty man or woman.
7 Way off being strong (5)
STOUT – The abbreviation for street (way) followed by a word meaning off.
8 Revive yet inter forever. (8)
ETERNITY – An anagram (revive) of YET INTER. I am happy with revive as an anagram indicator in the sense of reanimate or refresh.
9 Powerful Company man. (6)
COGENT – The abbreviation for company (not sure why this needs to be capitalised) followed by a word meaning a man.
16 One who defends man; drag us out. (9)
GUARDSMAN – An anagram (out) OF MAN DRAG US.
17 Shooter uses it to throw light on second weapon. (8)
FLASHGUN – A word meaning quick or second followed by a type of weapon.
19 Book former love from the French south. (6)
EXODUS – The abbreviation for former, the letter O (love), the French for from the and the abbreviation for south. Having use love for O in 12a (albeit incorrectly) a different word could have been used here).
20 Add speech later, bud? (7)
OVERDUB – A reverse cryptic clue, the answer would be a way cryptically to represent bud.
21 Rhyme dry with eye without the old spy. (6)
ODETTE – Another word for a poem or rhyme followed by the abbreviation for teetotal (dry) and the “eye” from the clue without the Old English version of “the”. As the answer is a spy, this does not have to be indicated by a ? at the end of the clue. If it were the reverse, where the definition was an example of the solution, it would need a ? or a maybe to indicate a definition by example.
23 Top secret patent. (5)
OVERT – Remove the first letter (top) from a word meaning secret.