A Puzzle by Dill
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Dill returns with her second Rookie Corner 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.
Dill returns with her engines revving with a great crossword. For her second appearance this was a very good puzzle with lots of variety and inventive cluing. Apart from a couple of points on the clues, the comments are all minor ones.
To get so many brands of cars and types of cars into the grid and the wordplay was an impressive feat.
1 Frisk a sailor to find tuna (8)
SKIPJACK – A word meaning to frisk or jump followed by a four letter word for a sailor. The “a” could have been omitted from the clue.
5 Spies on one American state to flush out a plant (6)
ACACIA – A single letter meaning one followed by a two letter abbreviation for a West Coast state of America followed by a three letter abbreviation for the American counter-intelligence agency.
9 Ruses are deployed to restore confidence (8)
REASSURE – An anagram (deployed) of RUSES ARE.
10 Announce reigning Olympian originally lacked determination (6)
HERALD – The name of one of the Greek Goddesses of Olympia followed by the initial letters (originally) of lacked determination. I have corrected the spelling in the clue. Olympian should technically have a capital O.
12 Trumpet sounds OTT, so needed recomposing (5)
TOOTS – An anagram (needed recomposing) of OTT SO. A minor point but anagram indicators like this work better in the present tense. “so needs recomposing” would work here.
13 The declaration that I have no faults is flawed (9)
IMPERFECT – Split 1’1, 7, this would be a declaration that someone has no faults.
14 Upmarket secretary to Fitzgerald’s a dish (6)
PAELLA – The abbreviation for an upmarket secretary followed by the first name of the singer Fitzgerald. Technically, as Fitzgerald is a definition by example of a person’s name, this should be indicated but with well-known personalities where apart from Scott there are very few alternatives, this is a nicety. I think “upmarket secretary” adds to the clue’s surface reading and is a valid description of the required part of the answer so gets the thumbs up from me.
16 The President’s old but he’s still kind of green (7)
LINCOLN – Double definition of an old US president and a kind of green. Again, whilst the old is technically superfluous to the clue, it is strictly accurate and provides a useful function in the surface reading of someone being long in the tooth and still inexperienced.
19 I heard he paddled to Morocco and Portugal – way to go! (4,3)
ROAD MAP – A homophone (I heard) of ROWED (paddled) followed by the IVR codes for Morocco and Portugal. The “he” in the clue is padding and should have been omitted. “Paddled, we hear, to Morocco and Portugal – way to go” would have worked equally well.
21 ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ is oddly subtle (6)
BUSTLE – An anagram (oddly) of SUBTLE.
23 Crab with an upset tummy’s relative to an infection (9)
CARBUNCLE – Reverse the inner letters of crab (with an upset tummy) and follow it with the name of a male relative. I think wordplay to definition works as in do this to get that. I was less keen on the surface reading on this clue. Again the “an” before infection could have been omitted.
25 Light hit the moon from the terrace (5)
PATIO – A three letter word for a light hit followed by the names of one of the moons of Jupiter.
26 Playful Venetian heiress picks up a racy model (6)
PORTIA – A homophone (picks) of Porsche (a racy model).
27 A god surrounded by prayer for abundance (8)
PLETHORA – The name of the Norse god of thunder inside another name for a prayer or urgent entreaty.
28 Artist has a go with the queen (6)
TURNER – A four letter word for a go or shot at something followed by the regnal cipher of the current queen.
29 Worshipper is smeared with a mixture of red oil (8)
IDOLISER – An anagram (a mixture of) RED OIL goes around (smeared) the IS from the clue.
1 A fairy has a hand in malice (6)
SPRITE – The abbreviation for right (a hand) inside another word for malice. Again, omitted in the indefinite article can sharpen the clue – “Fairy has a hand in malice” is punchier.
2 Main aorta pounding for an old girlfriend (9)
INAMORATA – An anagram (pounding) of MAIN AORTA.
3 NY team overwhelms the south for laughs (5)
JESTS – The name of an New York football team around (overwhelms) the abbreviation for south.
4 Wow! 28’s first seen on the road in 1962 (7)
CORTINA – A three letter word for wow followed by the first name of someone whose surname is the answer to 28a.
6 Lost a point driving around in Glen’s car looking for open spaces (9)
CLEARINGS – An anagram (driving around) of IN GLENS CAR after removing one of the Ns (lost a point).
7 Case of the church harbouring an informer (5)
CRATE – A three letter word for an informer inside the abbreviation for the Church of England.
8 Examining a German Mark can lead to Goering (8)
AUDITING – The name of a German car brand (a German mark) followed by another word for a container or can and the first letter (lead to) of Goering.
11 Short work for gangster to uncover a gem (4)
OPAL – A two letter abbreviation (short) for work followed by the first name of Mr Capone (gangster). One of only two major comments on the crossword is that I don’t think that A for B works as an instruction for A + B.
15 The story about Tom’s endless night-time activity could be stretched. (9)
LIMOUSINE – A three letter word for a story or untruth around a word describing what cats do when trying to catch rodents with the final letter removed (endless).
17 Inspector General lacking in his duties to make sacrifices (9)
OBLATIONS – A word meaning duties has the initial letters of Inspector General removed. As I was using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer on Sunday Morning, the word came readily, “who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world…” I cannot find an abbreviation for Inspector General as IG in Chambers but it is given in Collins.
18 Two street drugs make a man mad (8)
CRACKPOT – Two slang names (street) for types of drug.
20 Gather the old devil’s swapping a knight for a pawn (4)
PICK – A four letter word for the devil has the N (knight) replaced by a P (pawn).
21 An insect died because it was hung over (7)
BEETLED – The name of an insect followed by the abbreviation for died. The answer could be descriptive of overhanging eyebrows.
22 Having a sexy appearance could generate boastful talk (3,3)
HOT AIR – Double definition.
24 It’s less common when a king’s parked in the back end (5)
RARER – A single letter abbreviation for a king inside (parked in) another word for the back end of something.
25 Arrangement of 27 without a little horizontal flower part (5)
PETAL – Remove a shorted form of horizontal from the answer to 27a and make an anagram (arrangement) of the remaining letters. My other major comment is that HOR is not given as an abbreviated form of horizontal in either Chambers or Collins so the deletion should have been indicated differently.