A Puzzle by Metman
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The puzzle is available by clicking on the above grid.
Our first puzzle of 2017 is by regular contributor Metman. The cupboard is looking particularly bare at the moment, so new contributions will be extremely welcome. 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.
A very happy New Year to all of our Rookie setters and solvers. We have a good start to the year with a welcome return by Metman.
All the fundamentals are there in the cluing but there are still a few areas where there are minor niggles that could be avoided by a little more polish. Even if the overall standard of the cluing is good, too many minor niggles can detract from the crossword as a whole. Overall, it was a gentle and enjoyable solve.
1 Any car sprayed yellow (6)
CANARY – An anagram (sprayed) of ANYCAR.
4 Expensive delicacy loses temperature to disturb feathers (6)
RUFFLE – Remove the starting T (temperature) from an expensive delicacy.
9 Box to deliver this – it’s a winner (4)
KAYO – A cryptic definition of a means of winning a boxing match, the phonetic spelling of KO or knockout.
10 He sells grass to a cricketer. (10)
SHOPKEEPER – A word meaning to grass or betray followed by a description of a position played by a cricketer.
11 Remain thus to invoke an amendment (6)
SILENT – A cryptic reference to the fifth amendments to the constitution of the United States which gives those accused the right to remain thus.
12 Sort of heather which could light your fire (8)
KINDLING – A four letter word meaning sort or type followed by another word for heather. A minor point but the “of” jars slightly as sort on its own defines that first part of the wordplay and heather on its own, the second. It is necessary as the whole clue defines the answer.
13 Spill ale onto M1 and become tearful (9)
EMOTIONAL – An anagram (spill) of ALE ONTO MI. The become here does not fit. if the definition is “become tearful”, it does not match the answer. If the become is a link word, it should, grammatically, be wordplay becomes (plural) definition.
15 Snakes alive! Without a wicked intention (4)
EVIL – An anagram (snakes) of ALIVE without the A. As a transitive verb, grammatically the clue should be snake alive. As an intransitive verb, it should follow the words to be rearranged.
16 Americans eat it when out (4)
CROW – A a reference to the American expression to eat **** when you are mistaken or “out” about something.
17 Holy crag I scrambled up for ruling junta (9)
OLIGARCHY – An anagram (scrambled up) of HOLY CRAG I.
21 Old Mallard ahead of the queen – he probably built it (8)
ENGINEER – Another word for a locomotive of which the “old” Mallard is an example (theoretically it should have a definition by example indicator) followed by the two letter abbreviation for the current queen.
22 UAE got dreadful power failure (6)
OUTAGE – An anagram (dreadful) of UAE GOT.
24 Red hose Len changed for Bavarian dress (10)
LEDERHOSEN – An anagram (changed) of RED HOSE LEN. As the HOSE appears unchanged in the answer and only minimal rearrangement of the remaining letters is required, this weakens the effect of the clue.
25 It means nothing to Yorkshiremen (4)
NOWT – The Yorkshire dialect word for nothing.
26 Back Sid to possess then abandon (6)
DISOWN – reverse (back) the SID from the clue and add another word meaning to possess.
27 Don’t clap at hymn, it shows indifference (6)
APATHY – The answer is hidden (it shows) in CLAP AT HYMN. The “don’t” here is padding and contributes only to the surface reading.
1 This case will need something of a brain (7)
CRANIUM – A mildly cryptic definition of the skull (though it would contain the whole of the brain, not something of it).
2 Elk drops head to take on any number to catch (5)
NOOSE – Remove (drops head) the first letter from another word for an elk and replace it (take on) the single letter abbreviation for any number.
3 Trios to play as a starter (7)
RISOTTO – An anagram (play) of TRIOSTO. As the answer could also be a main course, it might have been better to include a question mark at the end as the answer is not specifically a starter.
5 World Body, generous, though uncharitable (6)
UNKIND – The abbreviation for United Nations followed by a word meaning generous.
6 Squatter might be a sybarite (4-5)
FREE LIVER – A squatter, not paying rent, could be said to be this.
7 An alien joins forces with Capone to shelter Eric’s partner forever (7)
ETERNAL – The two letter word for an alien and the first name of Mr Capone includes (to shelter) the short form of Eric Morecambe’s comedy partner.
8 Sidecar attire – nice little number for an outing (8,5)
COCKTAIL DRESS – Sidecar is an example of this type of drink (it should therefore have a definition by example indicator). Follow this with another word for attire. The second part of the wordplay is perhaps too closely related to the answer.
14 Cheats who use more than one stopwatch? (3-6)
TWO-TIMERS – A cryptic definition of a cheat.
16 Lean towards supporting a prisoner for a challenge (7)
CONTEND – A four letter word meaning to lean towards goes after (supports) a three letter word for a prisoner. A challenge implies a noun as the answer but the answer is a verb.
18 King George to confess – very adult! (5,2)
GROWN UP – The two letter abbreviation for King George followed by a phrase (3,2) meaning to confess. As the answer is an emphatic version of adult when used, the “very” in the definition is not out of place.
19 Feeling of euphoria on the road, there’s a code for it (7)
HIGHWAY – A four letter word for a feeling of euphoria followed by another word for a road. Again there is probably too much of a crossover between the second part of the wordplay and the answer.
20 Expression of relief south of Tyneside is relative (6)
NEPHEW – A four letter word for an expression of relief after (south of) the geographical region of Tyneside.
23 It’s canon rule whichever way you look at it (5)
TENET – The answer is a palindrome (whichever way you look at it).