A Puzzle by Cyborg
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Here’s Cyborg’s latest puzzle – he’s looking forward to seeing what you think of 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 of this puzzle by Prolixic follows.
I concur with those who have said that Cyborg is due to be elevated to the pages of the NTSPP. Although there are a few comments on the clues, these are [councils]counsels of perfection.
1 Support group provides luggage (8)
BACKPACK – A four letter word meaning support followed by a word meaning a group.
5 Kills time taking last of coffee to counter (6)
OFFSET – A four letter word meaning kills and the abbreviation for time includes (taking) the last letter of coffee. I think taking is acceptable as an insertion indicator. If I am taking food, I am eating it.
10 States unsympathetic after English exit (5)
AVERS – A word means unsympathetic has the final E (English) removed (after…exit).
11 Liquor‘s soon drunk before hour in pit (9)
MOONSHINE – An anagram (drunk) of SOON followed by the abbreviation for hour goes inside (in) a word for a pit where coal is extracted.
12 Star’s death in USA proven suspicious (9)
SUPERNOVA – An anagram (suspicious) of USA PROVEN.
13 Nominal fine reversed after tax cases (5)
TOKEN – A reversal of a word meaning after tax goes around (cases) a two letter word meaning fine or all right.
14 Story of a cold nobleman (7)
ACCOUNT – The A from the clue followed by the abbreviation for cold and another word for a nobleman.
17 Dogs with dark spots (7)
SHADOWS – A double definition. I think dark patches would be better but spots as in areas (as in a cool spot in a room) works for me.
19 Working domestically involves the state (7)
KINGDOM – The answer is hidden in (involves) WORKING DOMESTICALLY.
21 Music player cross with junk half yard from keyboard (7)
JUKEBOX – Half the word junk followed by the letters in keyboard with the letters in yard removed followed by the letter representing an X. I think that A with B leads to AB unlike A on B which leads to BA (in across clues).
22 Funny turn at end of day (5)
DROLL – The abbreviation for day followed by (at the end of) a word meaning turn.
23 Debacle I’d set in motion can be resolved (9)
DECIDABLE – An anagram (set in motion) of DEBACLE ID.
26 Went back into grass to collect key (2-7)
RE-ENTERED – A four letter word for grass includes (to collect) one of the keys on a keyboard.
27 Including poison side effects entry into short table of contents (5)
TOXIC – The Roman numerals for 11 (side) inside (effects entry into) the abbreviation (short) for table of contents.
28 Gives up gains (6)
YIELDS – A double definition.
29 Braces heavy works around plant being retired (8)
TWOSOMES – A word for heavy books or works around a reversal (being retired) of a word meaning to plant.
1 Climber doesn’t allow chatter about energy (9)
BEANSTALK – A word meaning prohibits or doesn’t allow followed by a word meaning talk, all around the abbreviation for energy.
2 Regularly use scarce help to make gradual progress (5)
CREEP – The even letters (regularly use) in scarce help.
3 Question an impostor (5)
POSER – Double definition.
4 Expense covers MP taking over application to promote growth (7)
COMPOST – A four letter word for an expense includes (covers) the MP from the clue and (taking) the abbreviation for over. In a down clue, covers implies A goes on top of B rather than A around B. Taking is usually used as an insertion rather than A + B.
6 Cut calorie intake and follow simple programme (4,5)
FAST TRACK – A word meaning not eating (cut calorie intake) followed by a word meaning to follow. I don’t think that the definition matches the dictionary definition of the answer.
7 In lower temperature, fail to produce practical joke (5,4)
STINK BOMB – Inside a word meaning lower or let down include the abbreviation for temperature and follow it by a word meaning to fail.
8 Related product that is packed in can (3-2)
TIE-IN – The abbreviation for that is goes inside (packed in) a word for a can.
9 King and queen return to execute soldiers (6)
ROYALS – Reverse (return) a word meaning to execute and the abbreviation for other ranks. As King and Queen are definitions by example, a perhaps or maybe could have been included to indicate this.
15 Odd parts of Cretan sonnet translated into Eastern language (9)
CANTONESE – An anagram (translated) of CEA (odd letters or parts of Cretan) SONNET.
16 Neat string instrument dismantled outside (9)
UNDILUTED – A word meaning dismantled goes around (outside) the name of a stringed instrument.
18 Old coins found in inappropriate puppet? (9)
SIXPENCES – How many letters P are found in the letters of inappropriate puppet!
20 New way to lead navy (6)
MODERN – A word for a way goes before (to lead) the abbreviation for the Royal Navy.
21 Sailor with a lot of money raised bird (7)
JACKDAW – A four letter word for a sailor followed by a reversal (raised) of a word for a large amount of money.
22 Starts to dig into ref that yelled “foul” (5)
DIRTY – The initial letters (starts to) the third to seventh words of the clue.
24 Determines age of boyfriends? (5)
DATES – A double definition.
25 Largely busted up crowd around unknown university (5)
BUXOM – A reversal (up) of a three letter word for a crowd around the abbreviations for university and the letter for an unknown quantity. I am not sure that the clue really tells you to reverse the positions of the two abbreviations.