A Puzzle by Dill
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today Dill becomes the latest to put her head above the parapet. I hope you enjoy her 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.
Apologies for the late review. The trains were running tonight so Dill gets my full attention. I have to say that I enjoyed this a lot more when reviewing it that when solving it for the first time on Sunday evening (I peeked at what was coming up). Although it was not too difficult, there were one or two clues where the wordplay was a little too off beam for my liking but, in perspective, they overly coloured my initial reaction to the crossword.
There was a good food theme running through the clues. Some of surface readings could be polished but overall there was a good standard of cluing and devices used.
1 Maybe ginger led females who sang? No (5,5)
SPICE GIRLS – The type of food of which ginger is an example (maybe) before (led) another word for females.
7 Bearing 4 needs 6 directions (4)
VINE – What bears the answer to 4d comes from the Roman numerals for six followed by two points of the compass (directions).
9 Old man keeps notebooks in the banana family (8)
PLANTAIN – A two letter word for old man includes keeps a musical note and an abbreviation for books of the bible and all of this is followed by the IN from the clue. Views will differ over the device of splitting one word into two to give separate wordplay elements without indication. I don’t think that the definition defines the whole of the banana family but a member of it. You would have to have the “in” doing double duty as part of answer and part of the definition to make the definition work.
10 Enjoy a gentleman’s condiment (6)
RELISH – Double definition time.
11 Threaten people with a perfect serving (6)
MENACE – A three letter word for people followed by another word for a perfect service in tennis.
12 Politically aloof, they accost Chinese speaking members (8)
MUGWUMPS – A three letter word meaning accost followed by a two letter word for a set of Chinese dialects and the abbreviation for members of Parliament.
13 Obscure tree fished from the Danube? (6)
FOGASH – A three letter word meaning to obscure followed by a three letter word for a type of tree.
16 Urge to get both hands round Earl who talks rot (8)
DRIVELER – A word meaning to urge followed by the abbreviation for both hands around the abbreviation for Earl.
17 Hare pâté blended with an underground pod (5,3)
EARTH PEA – An abbreviation (blended) of HARE PATE.
20 Person acting inappropriately makes king miss the end of the show (6)
GROPER – The abbreviation for King George followed by a type of musical show with the final letter missing. I think that the construction of “miss the end of the show” for taking a word meaning a show with the final letter removed is slightly clumsy.
22 American preference to UK’s Deep Purple (8)
EGGPLANT – Double definition of the vegetable / colour in America that in England is a vegetable of a deep purple colour.
23 Say Cheshire when it’s time to snap (6)
CHEESE – Cheshire is an example of the word said when your picture is about to be taken.
25 St Nicolas holds the first of Christmas holy places (6)
SANCTA – The first letter of Christmas in the familiar way of referring to the character represented by St. Nicholas.
26 Crashed a crashed party game (m a) (8)
CHARADES – An anagram (crashed) of A CRASHED. The (m a) in the clue is a mistake.
27 Massive almonds contain a source of protein (4)
VEAL – The answer is hidden in MASSIVE ALMONDS.
28 Hair ropes cause fear on the canal (10)
DREADLOCKS – A five letter word meaning fear followed by something found on a canal. Prepositional indicators such as in country, on canal, by the way are sometimes seen but personally are one of my least favourite ways of defining something.
2 Beat up rising financial school (5)
PULSE – Reverse (rising) the UP from the clue and follow with the abbreviation for the London School of Economics.
3 John says thanks twice for this musical composition (7)
CANTATA – A three letter word for a toilet or John followed by a two letter word repeated (twice) for says thanks.
4 One closely related to us hasn’t to consume fruit (5)
GRAPE – The name of one of the animals closely related to us without (hasn’t) a word meaning to consume.
5 Expensive men changed and called again (7)
RENAMED – An anagram (changed) of another word for expensive and men DEARMEN. Despite comments on the blog, this is the sort of clue that would not be permitted in daily papers. There are very strict limits on when an indirect anagram is permitted and there must be absolutely no ambiguity for the solver. With a clue of this type, if one word is indirect and one isn’t, then the solver has no way of knowing whether you need a five letter word for expensive and an abbreviation for men or another word for expensive and the men from the clue or another word for men, etc.
6 A redhead with a cardie on has no hesitation in showing indifference (9)
SHRUGGING – A six letter word for a redhead without the final ER (has no hesitation) with a five letter word above it for a cardigan.
7 French bike in front of Australian car to find a saucy mother (7)
VELOUTE – The French for a bike followed by another name for an Australian utility vehicle.
8 Could be Roman church welcomes tart to save face (9)
NOSEPIECE – A part of the body that could be described as Roman and the abbreviation for the Church of England includes another word for a pastry tart. I think the definition here misses the mark. Even as a descriptive indicator as nosepiece does not save the whole of the face.
14 Dutch help sounds juicy (9)
ORANGEADE – The colour associated with the Dutch Royal House followed by a homophone (sounds) of a word meaning to help. I don’t think that juicy as an adjective can clue the noun.
15 Random chance has a risk (9)
HAPHAZARD – A three letter word meaning chance followed by a word meaning risk. Perhaps the answer and the elements of the wordplay are too closely related.
18 Being sultry has no right to be in the news (7)
TOPICAL – A word meaning sultry in terms of the weather without the letter R, has no right.
19 British lorry cut short the French thing (7)
ARTICLE – A five letter word meaning a lorry (the British is not necessary here) followed by the plural form of the in France with the last letter removed.
21 Mix 75% of 14 with nothing and put on a pizza (7)
OREGANO – Take the first 2/3 of the answer to 14 down and make an anagram (mix) of the letters with the letter O. The 75% here is a mistake and the precise number of letters or their proportion should be used not an approximation.
23 Is this a misspelling of burnt veg? (5)
CHARD – A homophone (is this a misspelling) of charred.
24 A bit of German ham (5)
SPECK -Double definition time.