A Puzzle by Metman
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Today we have Metman’s latest 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.
Our thanks to Metman for another pleasant puzzle. Although there are a number of comments on the clues, these are very much to polish them. The fundamentals are there. It is simply a question of attention to little details that make the difference between a satisfactory clue and a good clue.
6 Does this man use a chopper to deliver the bullets? (7)
HATCHET – Another name for an assassin with the word that precedes man also being the name of an axe or chopper.
7 State army in reserve (5)
HOARD – A homophone (state) for another word for an army or large number of people.
9 Curb lubricant, holding back incipient growth (4)
BULB – The answer is hidden and reversed (holding back) CURB LUBRICANT.
10 Hot classic reviewed in an erudite manner (10)
SCHOLASTIC – An anagram (reviewed) of HOT CLASSIC. The definition leans naturally to an adverb. Perhaps “Academic reviewing hot classic” would work better to use the answer as a noun.
11 She had her entertainment clutching a supporter (8)
ADHERENT – The answer is hidden (clutching) in HAD HER ENTERTAINMENT. Although the “she” is padding for the surface reading and is best avoided, you do see padding words in some crosswords. Here it might contribute elliptically to definition as the support could be female. I think support is a close enough synonym. To avoid the padding, you could have “Fan had her entertainment between the covers” or something similar.
13 Missed group at the beginning (6)
OUTSET – A three letter word for missed followed by a three letter for a group. Perhaps “missed” is a bit of a stretch of the first three letters. Perhaps “Public group in the beginning” would be more precise.
15 This outstanding star made a river flow backwards (4)
NOVA – Reverse (flows backwards) the name of a South West river. Perhaps the “This” could have been omitted.
17 Put off date with relative (5)
DAUNT – The abbreviation for date followed by the name of a female relative.
18 A tendency to be crooked (4)
BENT – A double definition.
19 George perhaps, has some paper to direct (6)
STREAM – A two letter abbreviation for a holy person of whom George is an example followed by a word for an amount of paper. I am not convinced that the answer means to direct.
20 Scruffy pair lose argument to separate into two camps (8)
POLARISE – An anagram (scruffy) of PAIR LOSE. The word “argument” here is pure padding and does not contribute to the definition. Perhaps “Separate into two camps after pair lose disgracefully” would work better here.
23 Prison cooking in Thailand? (4,6)
STIR FRYING – A cryptic reference to a form of Thai cooking that may, read literally, be cooking in prison.
26 Hello sailor? (4)
AHOY – A way in which a sailor may say hello. Very mildly cryptic!
27 Hostel for young migrants (5)
YOUTH – A cryptic definition of the type of hostel where young travellers or migrants stay.
28 Hello? Call your friend bottled up in the vicinity (7)
LOCALLY – The answer is hidden (bottled up) in HELLO CALL YOU. Again, the word “friend” is padded to make the surface reading work but does not contribute to the wordplay.
1 Firm friend-in the equine world? (10)
STABLEMATE – A word meaning firm followed by a word for friend to gives a word for a friend in the equine word with the whole clue provide a complete definition.
2 Pursued by the sound of it but remained unsullied (6)
CHASTE – A homophone (by the sound of it) of chased (pursued).
3 Practice art form from scratch? (4)
ETCH – An cryptic definition meaning to engrave.
4 Cut oil blend to hair lotion initially to relax (5,3)
CHILL OUT – An anagram (blend) of CUT OIL HL (hair lotion initially). To make the cryptic grammar work you would need “with” instead of “to” in the clue to give the construction “mix A with B” instead of “mix A to B”.
5 Very unusual! as satyr protects young female (4)
LASS – The answer in hidden (protects) in UNUSUAL AS SATYR. The very is padding once again. The capitalisation has gone astray and the punctuation hinders rather than helps. Perhaps “Squeal as Satyr pinches young female” would work better.
6 Canine badger (5)
HOUND – A double definition.
8 Performing Verdi in outdoor entertainment (5-2)
DRIVE IN – An anagram (performing) of VERDI IN.
12 Temperature hike brings about a strike (5)
THUMP – The abbreviation for temperature followed by a verb meaning to hike or raise something up.
14 A celebrant went to pieces in this holy place (10)
TABERNACLE – An anagram (went to pieces) of A CELEBRANT.
16 Stumped? Hang on to survive (7)
OUTLAST – A three letter word for what you would be if stumped in cricket followed by a word meaning to hang on. As the synonym for hang on is also another word for survive, perhaps a different synonym would be better, such as “Stumped? Most unlikely to survive”
17 Mad cheer discerned for political initiative (8)
DEMARCHE – An anagram (discerned) of MAD CHEER.
21 Reputation of late? (6)
LEGACY – A cryptic definition of the reputation of a dead person.
22 Listen to get a level account (5)
STORY – A homophone (listen to) of a level of a building. Perhaps the “get a” could have been omitted here.
24 Direction lacks energy and brings about a crushing defeat (4)
ROUT – Remove the abbreviation for energy from the end of a word meaning direction.
25 Kid lets both ends go – lazy! (4)
IDLE – The answer is hidden in (lets both ends go) in KID LETS. As this is effectively the fifth hidden word clue, this is something of a surfeit. Also, the lets both ends go suggests that the same number of letters are removed from each end. “Kid let both ends go” would be better.