A Puzzle by Deuce
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Deuce enjoyed the feedback from his first puzzle, so he has returned with a second one. 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.
It is difficult to know what to make of this crossword. There are strokes of brilliance but, regardless of your cluing style, there was sometimes a lack of technical detail and too much repetition of wordplay devices. The overall impression was rather like watching Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing. It is fun to watch but some of the moves are not all there, particularly as we hit the down clues.
1/4 EU exit aspiration in disarray with heads of France and European Commission involved, all covered by bumbling Vice Premier (5,9)
CHIEF EXECUTIVE – An anagram (bumbling) of VICE around and anagram (in disarray) of EU EXIT H (aspiration) F E C (heads of France, European and Commission). The use of aspiration to clue an H in an anagram is close to making this an indirect anagram.
9 Extra mud I blended for cocktail (9)
ADMIXTURE – An anagram of EXTRA MUD I.
10 May predecessor be out of sorts about brief promotion (5)
APRIL – A word meaning to be ill or out of sorts around the abbreviation for public relations (brief promotion).
11 May take note, having first letters of font underlined with lines in bold style (8)
MANFULLY – The May from the clue about the abbreviation for note, the first letter of Font and Underlined and two LLs (lines in the plural).
12 It’s hardly enough, scratch surface with afterthought (6)
SKIMPS – A word meaning to scratch the surface (as you might with milk to remove the cream) followed by the abbreviation for an afterthought in writing. I think the definition leads to an adjective but the answer is in the verbal form.
14 Pause to absorb energy and start afresh (5)
RESET – A word meaning to pause includes (to absorb) the abbreviation for energy.
15 Photographer’s mount (7)
SNOWDON – Double definition of the Lordly royal photographer and the highest mountain in Wales.
18 GP’s blurred lines before cardiac event starts (7)
SILENCE – An anagram (blurred) of lines followed by the first letters (starts) of cardiac event. The musical abbreviation is not in Chambers but is in Collins.
20 Inspect carefully, end of chuckle is hollow (5)
COMBE – A word meaning to search carefully followed by the final letter (end of chuckle).
22 May be Gandhi or Idi Amin’s first northern invasion to heart of Congo (6)
INDIAN – the IDI from the clue and the first letter of Amin include (invasion) an N (northern) and followed by the central letter (heart of) Congo.
24 May be used to colour jeans evenly with shades of brown (1-7)
E-NUMBERS – The even letters of Jeans and the plural of a burnt brown colour.
26 Nothing in ceremony to take end of Johnson? (5)
BORIS – AN O (nothing) in another word for the Jewish circumcision ceremony (ceremony to take end!)
27 Run before tea upset Durham’s opener, after six balls scored too high (9)
OVERRATED – After the word for six balls in cricket add the abbreviation for run and an anagram (upset) of tea.
28 Confused memo about top half of cowl getting tangled in nun’s extremities, leading to mouth of Trappist saying this? (2,7)
NO COMMENT – An anagram (confused) of MEMO around the first two letters of cowl all inside the first and last letters of num followed by the first letter (mouth of) Trappist.
29 State of America unknown following heart of Ronald Reagan? (5)
NANCY – The middle two letters (heart of) Ronald followed by the abbreviation for North Carolina and a letter representing an algebraic unknown. We have already have had “heart of” as a middle word indicator so ideally, a different indicator should be used in one of the clues.
1 Queen on 1st May in frantic search for winning people (8)
CHARMERS – A single letter abbreviation for queen and the first letter of May inside an anagram (frantic) of SEARCH.
2 Jab does this miss mine wildly around middle of round (9)
IMMUNISES – An anagram (wildly) of MISS MINE around the middle letter of round.
3 Two members of 13, banned by previous one (3,4)
FOX HUNT – An activity banned by the previous political administration comes from the surnames of two members of the current administration.
4 European traitor abolishes pound and invokes article 50 as might be doing with second try? (10)
EQUALISING – The abbreviation for European followed by a word for a traitor with an L removed (abolishes pound) around (invokes) an article and the roman numeral for 50.
5 Had nice garden before May? (4)
EDEN – Double definition for the garden in the book of Genesis and one of the current Prime Minister’s predecessors. I think that the “had” in the clue could be removed.
6 UK and Danes put in question or not (7)
UNASKED – An anagram (put in question) of UK DANES.
7 Probably dreaming about thing (2,3)
IN REM – A description of the sleep phrase when dreaming occurs and a legal term for a thing.
8 Lent freely, take a shilling from King? (6)
ENLIST – An anagram (freely) includes another letter for a or one and the abbreviation for shilling. The take a shilling is doing double duty as part of the definition and part of the wordplay which would be frowned upon by many editors.
13 May team go against ten men, tussling to take second of trophies (10)
GOVERNMENT – The GO from the clue, the single letter used for against in legal case names, an anagram (tussling) of TEN MEN including (to take) the second letter of trophies. Twelve anagrams in a crossword (thirteen if you count the double in 1a) is over-egging the pudding.
16 Fish container upside down under freezer door for 20dn and co (6,3)
NUMBER TEN – A word for a freezer (something that makes you numb) followed by a reversal (upside down) of a contain in which fish are put after being captured.
17 Provided banquet about a saint? Yes, on this occasion (5,3)
FEAST DAY – A word meaning provided a banquet or catered around the A from the clue and the abbreviation for saint followed by a two letter word for saint.
19 May rival win, some lost final (7)
LEADSOM – A word meaning win (the synonym here is not exact I think) followed by the some from the clue with the final word removed.
20 Came before Queen and vacated occupation? (7)
CAMERON – The CAME from the clue followed by the single letter abbreviation for queen (already used before so a different indicator should have been used) and the outer letters (vacated) of occupation. Although the whole clue is supposed to indicate the answer, it does not really work for me.
21 To regularly bring a bong around end of House? (3,3)
BIG BEN – The odd letters (regularly) of BRING A BONG around the final letter (end of) of house. End of has already been used twice before as a final letter indicator. The to is out of place here as it suggests a verb as the answer.
23 Hoax retracted having run with Independent leader column (5)
DORIC – Reverse a verbal word meaning hoax and include the abbreviation for run and the first letter (leader) of independent. The abbreviation for run has already been used and should therefore have been clued differently.
25 Get over being rejected after loss how to change 13? (4)
VOTE – The answer is hidden (after loss) and reversed (rejected) in GET OVER. I am not over enamoured with after loss as hidden word indicator.