A Puzzle by MP
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
When I appealed for new contributions a few weeks ago, it inspired this brand-new setter to have a go. I hope you all enjoy his debut 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.
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 few [m]iffy clues but I managed to pop[s] this one off quickly. There were a few rough edges but the number of clues where there were issues was minimal, which is a good sign. An encouraging start.
1 Draw outline sketch of writing implement (6)
PENCIL – A single definition in four parts – each part of the definition comes from the same root. Normally with double definitions or more, you should try to have as much separation as possible between the definitions.
5 Some thwarters kill random head of board (8)
WATERSKI – The answer is hidden (some) in THWARTERS KILL after removing the first letter (head) of random. There is a missing deletion indicator here. I have not seen a hidden word with letter deletion clue before. The structure wordplay of definition is not universally approved of.
9 Mostly decayed organic material in action mouldered (10)
DECOMPOSED – Remove the final letter (mostly) of a word for decayed organic material beloved of gardeners and put the letters inside a four letter word for action.
10 Counts drinks for babies (4)
TOTS – Triple definition.
11 Secretary to companion of Open University has fifty one ingredients of perfume (8)
PACHOULI – The abbreviations for personal assistant (secretary), companion of honour, open university and the Roman numerals for fifty one. Chambers gives the answer with a T. As the answer is a singular noun, it should be ingredient of perfume but this would mar the surface reading.
12 Good man removes tree to build a road (6)
STREET – The abbreviation for saint (good man) followed by an anagram (removed in the sense of displaced).
13 Jacob’s wife undressed for bittersweet agony (4)
ACHE – The inner letters (undressed) of Rachel (Jacob’s wife).
15 Handover footballer’s return (4,4)
GIVE BACK – A double definition though the second part does not really work for me.
18 Leap Semi-Detached house yet declare inactivity (1’1,6)
I’M ASLEEP – An anagram (detached) of LEAP SEMI. Phrases should be those that are found in the dictionary, not simply parts of a sentence.
19 Part of chariot. A very small part (4)
IOTA – The answer is hidden (part of) CHARIOT A.
21 Change cubit after removing a piece (6)
COPPER – Remove a word for a piece from cubit and expand the chemical symbol that remains.
23 Heretics in fields all over the place (8)
INFIDELS – An anagram (all over the place) of IN FIELDS
25 Will historically wither (4)
WILT – Double definition.
26 Can’t come out. I’m tied up at home (10)
HOUSEBOUND – Split 5,5 this might mean tied up at home.
27 Regrouped and formed a new alliance (8)
REBANDED – Double definition, the second maybe in the sense of putting on a second wedding ring.
28 Ships canvas screens artful person (6)
DODGER – Double definition. The first part of the definition suggests a plural answer, the second a singular.
2 Hygiene machine contains a refreshing purge (5)
ENEMA – The answer is hidden (contains) in HYGIENE MACHINE.
3 Fool hurries around king’s dressers (9)
CLOTHIERS – A four letter word for a fool followed by a word meaning hurries around the abbreviation for king.
4 As much as one can hold sitting down (6)
LAPFUL – A mildly cryptic definition.
5 Fairy. On the draining board perhaps? (7-2,6)
WASHING-UP LIQUID – A mildly cryptic definition.
6 Neat stockpile cherished by a goalkeeper (4,4)
TIDY SAVE – A word meaning neat followed by a word meaning store or stockpile. Another clue where the phrase is not one recognised in the dictionary.
7 Model wearing glasses in luxury car offering lift (5)
ROTOR – … The model of Ford car offered by Henry Ford has OO (glasses) around it (wearing) and the letter go inside the abbreviation for Rolls Royce (luxury car).
8 Pussy around with part of the kit? Ten caterers might complain (6,3)
KITTEN CAT – The answer is hidden in (part of) KIT TEN CATERERS. The wordplay indicator part of has already been used so ideally should be different in this clue. The words “around … might complain” are padding and some editors would not permit them. The answer is again not a phrase in the dictionary. Four hidden word clues is a tad too many.
14 Mess with Postie.com looking for mixed materials (9)
COMPOSITE – An anagram (mess with) of POSTIE COM.
16 Bet unseen then stack under cover (9)
BLINDFOLD – A word of five letters used in card games for betting followed by a word meaning to stack your cards.
17 Looked to burn church editor (8)
SEARCHED – A word meaning to burn followed by the abbreviations for church and editor.
20 A plot of land in the distance (6)
AFIELD – The A from the clue followed by a word for plot of land.
22 Give the elder or younger politician a piece of bread (5)
PITTA – The surname of the politicians (either the younger or the elder) followed by the A from the clue.
24 Medical instrument wiped clean (5)
LANCE – An anagram (wiped) of CLEAN.